Given a fair chance at opening, I will back my ability – Johnson

first_imgBy Akeem GreeneGuyana’s son of the soil and West Indies Test cricketer Leon Johnson, who has adopted the role as opening batsman in the game’s longest format, says that once he has given a fair chance in playing in the position, he firmly believes he will gradually improve.In an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport on Wednesday at the player’s restaurant “Sticky Wicket” on Carmichael Street, the batman said “ Being asked to open the batting is not someLeon Johnsonthing I’m accustom to, when I say fair chance I mean a good run, a number of consecutive matches and I will back my ability to opening batting.”He further stated, “Those persons who would be opening the batting in international cricket would not just have started doing it, they probably would have been doing it for some time now, it’s a specialist position; so once I’m a given a fair opportunity I think I can adapt to it.”However, throughout his career, the stylish left-handed batsman has plied his trade in the middle-order position, a position in which he has been extremely successful. During the 2015/2016 West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional Cricket League (PCL) 4-day competition, the Guyana Jaguars captain rocketed to the top of the charts with an impressive 807 runs from ten matches at an average of 57.64, scoring two centuries and five half-centuries, batting a number four.Quizzed more on his new role in the regional side he explained, “Ideally if you going to open the batting in Test cricket, you will probably want to open the batting in four-day cricket but the way Guyana cricket is structured, we usually have seasoned openers, so probably asking these Guys who open the batting to drop in the order might be a bit difficult.”He added, “I was leading run scorer in the regional tournament batting at four, so I don’t see a reason why I should play First-class cricket opening the batting and I have been successful at number four.”On Test debut against Bangladesh in 2014, the batsmen stroked an eye-catching 66 after which he went on to make another half-century batting at number three however, in the recent series against India, he had to revert to the opening role, where he produced scores of 23,0 and nine.Though the Test squad for the three Test matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 13 to November 3 has not been named, it would to be a total surprise to see a batsman who played six Test matches, averaging 30.70 not be included. The possibility lies that once selected for the tour, Johnson will return to the opening slot, against the current number one ranked Test team.“Looking at Pakistan playing against England, they have a really good attack so the initial thinking will be to be to assess the conditions and you won’t be able to tell until you reach there and knowing the opposition, it all comes down to planning,” the 29 year-old revealed. With a lean outing in his last three Test innings, Johnson is cognisant of the technical areas he needs to address if he is to have a lengthy and successful career in the oldest format of the game. He stated, “After my dismissals in the two Test matches against India, I have gone and look at the tapes and I have seen a couple things I need to improve.”This weekend, Johnson along with 10 other Guyanese players and several other regional players will engage in preparatory camp in Barbados ahead of their trip to the U.A.E and the A-team tour to Sri Lanka. ([email protected])last_img read more