Qld rookie to replace Lee

Queensland’s tearaway left-armer Mitchell Johnson was a surprised man this morning when he was told he was to be Brett Lee’s replacement for the final one-day match between New Zealand and Australia.

Lee has returned home for nasal surgery and Johnson flew out from Brisbane this afternoon as his cover, despite the 24-year-old having only played 12 first class matches.

While the naming of Johnson may have left many cricket fans scratching their heads, the player himself was probably as surprised as any by his call-up.

“I rocked up to training and got told and I was speechless basically,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a shock but a good surprise too.”

Long touted in the country as a potential Australian player Johnson’s career has been stifled by injury but this season he has been fit and fast, giving selectors hope he may live up to early predicitions.

Johnson has played more cricket this season than in almost the last three combined and took a five wicket bag against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

With a rise so rapid the Townsville-born product said he was keen to make an impression if given the chance against the Kiwis on Sunday in Christchurch.

“At the moment I don’t know really what’s happening, it’s been a bit sudden,” he said.

“It’s definitely been encouraging watching guys like Mick Lewis have their chance and if I get a chance then hopefully I’ll do just as well.”

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