Johnson not ruling out Windies recall

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By Akeem Greene

Out-of-favour Windies batsman Leon Johnson has not ‘thrown in the towel’ regarding life in the maroon and is willing to put in the hard work to a make a grand return.

“I have had a taste of international cricket; I would have done decent in a couple of Tests, so the belief is there and I know if I get the opportunity I can perform on the big stage, but it is about putting up the big numbers and earning that recall,” the Guyana Jaguars captain told News Room Sport in a recent interview.

His career, both in and out of the regional side, has always sparked a debate, given his overwhelming talent to both fascinate fans as he plies his trade at the crease and also gain respect from astute leadership.

Oddly, his international numbers are ordinary for a batsman of his calibre.  Johnson’s last of nine Tests was against Pakistan in 2016 after making his debut in 2014 against Bangladesh.

Asked to perform a new role, predominantly as opener, runs did not come to his liking with just two half centuries in 16 innings, placing his Test average at 25.18, which is below his First-Class average of 32.13.

Johnson came back into the Windies fray after a sublime 2015-16 season, scoring a chart-topping 807 runs at average of 57.64 with two centuries and five half-centuries.

Leon Johnson’s last of nine Tests was in 2016 against Pakistan at Sharjah © AFP

Despite being in the form of his life, international success still evaded the four-time PCL-winning Guyana Jaguars captain and he subsequently lost his spot in the regional side.

“It is performances that got me into the [West Indies] team and then a lack of performances which resulted in me not being in the team. The runs have not come as I wanted it come over the last two seasons, it has been patchy but I still have a lot to offer to Guyana and West Indies,” Johnson reckoned.

He added, “I’m 30 now and that is not very old in cricket, we have seen guys get selected at age 36 and that is something very positive. It is about getting my mind into the right place. I have been leading the team well and sometimes, [my] bad performances tend to go under the carpet. I was once the leading runs-scorer and I know I have to do it again if I am to make the team.”

As Johnson posited, a lack of consistency has been his flaw. The last two seasons he averaged below 30 and made just one century, a majestic 165 against hosts Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in November 2017.

To be more precise, in the 2017-18 season, he made 475 runs, inclusive of three half-centuries and one ton at an average of 27.94. In 2016-17, the season after he topped the charts, he struggled, accumulating 323 runs at an average of 20.18 with a best of 69.

While he awaits the start of the new season, Johnson said he will be working with coaches at the Georgetown Cricket Club to iron out technical issues which would have been hindering his game.

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