Landscape gardener 18 months back, Spencer Johnson makes his mum smile with hefty IPL paycheck | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Australia’s Spencer Johnson, a landscape gardener just a year ago due to the absence of a professional cricket contract, is now celebrating a remarkable turn of events. In a span of 18 months, the fast bowler has transitioned from tending to gardens to securing a substantial IPL deal with the Gujarat Titans, bringing a radiant smile to his mother’s face.
The astounding transformation in Johnson’s fortunes was highlighted at the IPL auction in Dubai on Tuesday, where the Gujarat Titans invested a significant Rs 10 crore in acquiring him.
This hefty price tag not only signifies a major breakthrough in his cricketing career but also stands as a testament to the unpredictability and resilience inherent in the world of sports. It wasn’t too long ago that Johnson faced the prospect of his cricketing journey coming to an end, making his current success even more extraordinary.
“Eighteen months (ago) I didn’t have a state deal or a Big Bash contract. I was working as a landscaper and greenskeeper. So fast-forward 18 months, yeah it’s definitely different situations,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Debuting professionally for South Australia in a one-day game in 2017, Johnson encountered a persistent stress fracture in his foot that resulted in a three-year hiatus from the game, coupled with the loss of his contract.
Following surgery and an extensive rehabilitation process, the 28-year-old left-arm pacer successfully reclaimed his contract with South Australia in the middle of 2022. Subsequently, he marked his entry into the Big Bash League, making his debut for the Brisbane Heat in January of the same year.
Johnson was largely unknown outside of state cricket circles before he announced himself as a fast bowler of note for the Heat in last season’s Big Bash League with his 150 km/h thunderbolts.
It is no brainer that an IPL franchise coached by former India pacer Ashish Nehra bought Johnson who now sits behind Rashid Khan as Gujarat Titans’ second most expensive player.

IPL auction: Mitchell Starc breaks records with Rs. 24.75 crore deal to join Kolkata Knight Riders

After playing in The Hundred, Johnson also caught the eye of national selectors, and he was selected to play for Australia in the lead-up to the World Cup. He played his lone ODI against India in August in Indore where he was wicketless for 61 runs from his eight overs.
He has also played two T20Is, both against South Africa in August-September.
Johnson said netting the lucrative IPL contract was a special moment but more satisfying was to see his mother smile on FaceTime.
“It’s obviously a pretty special moment, I never really thought I’d be in this situation,” Johnson said ahead of Brisbane Heat’s BBL match against Melbourne Renegardes.
“But it was nice to get on the FaceTime back home in Adelaide (with) mum and to see her smile. It’s not just my moment, I guess it’s a moment for my whole family and they’ve been there the whole way. So for them to experience it as well, it’s pretty special.”
With just 30 overseas players’ spots up for grabs in the mini auction in Dubai, Johnson thought his opportunity might not come.
“I think the longer it went, I guess you start to lose a little bit of hope. So the longer it was going, I think the less chance I had.
“But at the end of the day I was in a position where I was in the auction, and this time last year I wasn’t. So whatever happened was going to happen, and anything would have been a good result.”
A life-changing IPL contact has been sealed but Johnson does not want to go down the T20-only route and believes Test cricket is actually where his strengths lie.
“Ideally, I’d like to play more red ball. I think my body’s just let me down over the last few years but my body’s hardening and I’m getting ready to play, hopefully, some longer format cricket, which is, I feel, my better format.
“I think post-Big Bash, we’ll get back to South Australia and play the last four Shield games there. And then hopefully with a couple of performances, you never know what might happen.”
(With PTI Inputs)

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