Johnson set to become 48th Guyanese Test player
Left-Hander ‘Very happy & elated’ at 2ND Test call-up
By Sean Devers
When Leon Johnson made his International debut for the West Indies against Bermuda in 2008 in Canada many felt it would be the start of a prosperous career for the then 20-year-old Guyanese left-hander.
However, Johnson who played his only three ODIs in 2008 had to wait six years to earn his first Test match call-up for the West Indies for the second Test against New Zealand in Trinidad from Monday.
The 26-year-old GCC player told Kaieteur Sports from the Grantley Adams International airport in Barbados just before he departed for Trinidad & Tobago that he was ‘very happy and elated’ to be selected.
If selected in the final X1, Johnson, who hails from Kumauni Creek in the Demerara River, will become the 48th Guyanese to play Test cricket and the first since Veerasammy Permaul made his debut against Bangladesh in 2012. He will also be the 298th West Indian to play at the highest level since 1928 when the Regional side played their inaugural Test match in England.
“I just want to continue scoring runs as I have been doing and make meaningful contributions in whichever way I can to the team” Johnson, who is the only Guyanese with a double century at the Regional under-19 level, said.
The talented player who also bowls useful spin made his first-class debut for Guyana against the Leewards at Enmore in 2004 when he was just 16.
He only played a couple of matches that season and had to wait four years for his third First Class game after Captaining West Indies at the Under-19 World Cup in 2006.
When he returned to the Guyana line-up, Johnson enjoyed a productive season; scoring 427 runs at an average of 42.70 and his only flaw was that he failed to get a three-figure score.
Johnson has two hundreds and 19 fifties from 50 First-Class matches and has been consistent this season against India ‘A’, Bangladesh ‘A’ playing for the West Indies ‘A’ and for Guyana when he registered his maiden first Class ton for the South Americans in Antigua against the Leeward Islands in April.
“I think the main reason for my recent success is due to me maturing not only as a player but a person as well, so that has enabled me to understand the game and my own game better,” explained Johnson.
One of the hardest working and complete batsmen in Guyana, Johnson attended the Starters Nursery and the St Margaret’s Primary before going to St Rose’s High, a school which never produced a Test player.
Speaking from her adopted Island of St. Maarten, Johnson’s mother Inez Fernandes was emotional and brimming with joy when Kaieteur Sports contacted her.
“It was a really great feeling Sean, I am very, very proud of him. I shed tears of joy because I know how much he wanted this and how much he worked for it,” she disclosed.
Johnson, who is married to Carolyn Johnson and has a son Joshua, thanked his club Coach former England International Guyanese Monte Lynch for helping tremendously for the last two years and to everyone else who has played a positive role in his career so far.
“I am looking forward to playing in Trinidad and if I do I am hoping to do well and make everyone and my country proud,” Johnson concluded.