Shocked Johnson happy to get into coveted list

 
Mitchell Johnson bagged the Cricketer of the Year honours. APBy becoming the only other Australian apart from his captain Ricky Ponting to have won the coveted title to date, the 27-year-old Queenslander has justified the great faith placed in him by the cricketing gurus back home.

Johnson was perhaps the least favoured from among the short-listed quartet – Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Andrew Strauss – for the Cricketer of the Year award, particularly after a disastrous campaign during the Ashes in England earlier this summer.

With Brett Lee out injured, Johnson was expected to spearhead the bowling but his erratic ways were significantly responsible for Australia conceding the Ashes to their old foes 1-2.

“I'm really blown away," Johnson said, mirroring his joy as well as his astonishment. “I am just surprised to be up here. Looking at the other guys in the list, I seriously expected those guys to be way ahead. But I am very privileged and honoured.

“It has been a great 12 months for me personally and for our side, though we have lost a lot of great players. I'm enjoying the game at the moment -- that makes all the difference,” added Johnson, who made a hundred and 96 not out in the Test series in South Africa at the start of the year. “The highlight for me was actually my first century in a Test match. I would be quite happy to wear the tag of all-rounder, so I have been pleased with how my batting has come on. Also, winning in South Africa was a huge high for us.”

Australia defeated South Africa 2-1 after losing the corresponding home series 1-2 just a few weeks earlier.

Despite his poor Ashes campaign, Johnson picked up 80 wickets in 17 Tests between August 2008 and August 2009, easily the most in Test cricket, apart from scoring 632 runs at 30.09.

In joining previous winners Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Ponting (twice) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in an elite club, Johnson has established himself as the Australian to watch out for in coming years, when he will not only be older but a lot wiser as well.

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