Johnson likely to be promoted in new contract list

March 31st, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 31 (IANS) Australian pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson is close to becoming the nation’s highest-paid player as the selectors decide their 25-man contract list in the next few weeks.
Johnson, who was not among the top four players last season, is likely to be promoted to the No.2 spot.

Johnson’s elevation will be a reward for his exceptional progress this summer in which he took 14 wickets at 11 apiece in two Tests against New Zealand, 17 wickets at 25.99 against South Africa in three Tests in Australia then 16 at 25 in South Africa as well as blossoming as a lower-order batsman.

In deciding the rankings the selectors assess the contribution a player has made over the past year and forecast what he is likely to achieve in the next contract period, the Daily Telegraph reports.

In both categories Johnson’s claims for a pay increase are substantial because he is now considered the most indispensable player in the team.

Ricky Ponting, entrenched as the top ranked player for the past few years after taking the mantle from Glenn McGrath, will be 34 in December.

Although he continues to occasionally produce a masterful innings, Ponting has averaged 39 or less in four of his past six series, indicating he is not the dominant force of his zenith.

Ponting is favoured to retain his top ranking on the strength of his recent joint-Allan Border Medal win. Johnson is seen as the player who will follow him into the top spot.

Victorian fast bowler Peter Siddle is likely to rocket into the top 10 while Mike Hussey and Brett Lee are expected to be handed pay cuts.

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