Spencer Johnson has had a rapid rise over the last few months. © Getty
Mitchell Marsh, Australia’s captain for the upcoming limited overs series against South Africa, has admitted that uncapped pacer Spencer Johnson will get a chance to make his debut. The left-arm pacer, who has made an impression in the ongoing edition of The Hundred, was picked in the ODI squad after Mitchell Starc was ruled out due to a groin injury.
Even as Johnson is currently not a part of Australia’s provisional squad for the 50-over World Cup in India later this year, there are still a couple of weeks left for Australia to submit the final squad.
Much of Johnson’s career has been plagued by injuries since making his List A debut for South Australia in 2017. He eventually made his first-class and T20 debuts in 2023, and has played only 4 FC, 6 List A and 16 T20 games. This season, he bowled a spell of 20-19-1-3 on his debut in The Hundred for the Oval Invincibles against Manchester Originals.
“We’ve got an extended squad, we’ve got some young guys coming in which is really exciting, seeing guys like Spencer Johnson, he’ll definitely get a crack,” Marsh said on Tuesday. “We haven’t seen much of him, have we? He’s had a few injuries throughout his career and he’s sort of burst onto the scene last year.
“I remember commentating a game and he was bowling 150[kph] and swinging them both ways. He’s an incredible talent. I faced him in the one-day final at the WACA and was blown away by his skill and his pace. Think he’s going to feel right at home in international cricket.”
Johnson is among four uncapped players picked in Australia’s limited-overs squads for the tour of South Africa, which begins on August 30 with a three-match T20I series followed by 5 ODIs. Tanveer Sangha and Aaron Hardie, who are a part of Australia’s 18-player provisional squad for the World Cup, also haven’t made their ODI debuts, but will get a crack in the South Africa series, Marsh confirmed.
The leggie, who was a part of Australia’s T20I squad for the tour of New Zealand in 2021, missed the entirety of last season due to a stress fracture. He is the third frontline spinner in the squad alongside Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar.
Hardie, on the other hand, finished as the leading run-getter in the last edition of the Big Bash League and was promoted to Australia A.
“Think we’ll definitely get a look at them both at some point throughout the tour,” Marsh said. “It’s really nice to see guys rewarded for performance. Tanveer’s had a few injury problems the last six months but we know what a superb talent he is. Think there’s no doubt we are going to see them in Australian colours over the next few years and we’ll get a look at them in South Africa.
“Think [Tanveer] is a very smart young bowler. From what I can gather and what I’ve heard he’s a very good cricketer, just bowls and bowls. A super talent. What we’ve seen in the Big Bash and first-class cricket so far, some kids you know will just be very good bowlers. And he’s one of those. Can’t wait to see him get his chance.”
Marsh has been handed the captaincy duties after Pat Cummins was rested to allow him to recover from his injuries. Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc have also been allowed time to recover from their respective physical struggles. Marsh, who has hit a purple patch with the bat across all three formats is being considered for a full-time captaincy role in the near future in white-ball cricket. But he doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
“Ultimately, hopefully I’m a good captain, if not I won’t be in the job for very long. That’s okay, I’m just looking forward to the opportunity,” he said. “We’ll get through South Africa and see how we go. I’m available to captain for as long as the team needs me. We’ll see where it all ends.”
Smith injured wrist in Lord’s Test
Steve Smith, on Tuesday, admitted that he injured his wrist while fielding in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s and continued playing with it in the last three games of the series.
Smith, who has been ruled out of the upcoming tour against South Africa, has suffered a tendon tear in his left wrist and is needed to wear a splint. However, he expects to be fit for the three-match ODI series against India ahead of this year’s World Cup.
“I did it at Lord’s. I don’t actually know the moment, it was when we were in the field,” Smith told Fox Cricket. “It wasn’t until that night I was like, ‘geez, what have I done here, it’s a bit sore’.
“I played the next game and then I had a cortisone [injection] before Old Trafford. I got back [to Australia] and I was like, ‘[It’s] still not quite right. I still can’t do a lot of things properly.’
“I had another scan. There was a small tear in the tendon as well as a couple of other things.”