Cricket: Spencer Johnson to replace Nathan Ellis in Australian T20 squad

After an almighty push from some of the loudest voices in the game, it’s happening.

Big Bash star Spencer Johnson is set to play a home T20 international after being included for the series against the West Indies as a replacement for Nathan Ellis.

The boom left-arm quick, who was player of the match after taking four wickets in the BBL final victory for his Brisbane Heat team, had been on standby for Ellis, who was named in the squad for the three-game series that begins on Friday despite being under an injury cloud.

Johnson was also a standby fielder for Tuesday’s ODI finale in Canberra but is now set to be unleashed at home having made both his T20 and ODI debuts overseas in 2023.

Johnson’s rapid rise through the ranks resulted in him earning a massive $1.78m IPL contract having been without a professional cricket contract anywhere and doing work as a landscape gardener and greenkeeper 18 months ago.

He only made his BBL debut on January 11, 2023 for the Brisbane Heat, then also played in England last year that helped earn him a national call-up for a debut T20 International against South Africa in South Africa before an ODI debut against India in India shortly after.

But he was left out of T20 squads for the series against the Windies and an upcoming one against New Zealand despite strong calls for his inclusion before getting the call-up on Wednesday morning.

“People have been coming up to me asking how I’m going having missed Aussie selection, but 12 months ago if someone said that to me then I’d probably laugh,” Johnson said after his BBL final heroics.

“The position I’m in now, I’m very grateful for. Hopefully, I can play again for Australia and that’s what I want to do.”

The opening match of the series is in Hobart on Friday.

Ellis has also been named for the series against the Kiwis but will be monitored, with Johnson also on standby to replace him for those games.