SHARE
Whack . . . Llew Johnson bats during the Otago Volts Super Smash match against the Central Stags in Napier. PHOTO: JOE ALLISON/GETTY IMAGES

Llew Johnson is making the most of his opportunities.

The North Otago cricketer has been training with the Otago Volts full time for most of the past two months, playing in the twenty-20 Super Smash and making his debut in the 50-over Ford Trophy.

Johnson debuted for the Otago Volts in 2018, aged 17, and played a handful of games over the following four years. He was loving getting more game time this season.

‘‘It’s been awesome to get another opportunity and come back in. I’m just really enjoying my time being around the lads and learning from them,’’ Johnson said.

On December 18 last year, Johnson smashed 38 off 23 balls to finish as Otago’s top batsman in the team’s Super Smash loss to Central Districts.

Three days later he made his Ford Trophy debut and backed it up in another match on January 3, making 26 runs.

Being in the Volts environment was similar to previous years, but the more games he got under his belt, the easier it got, he said.

‘‘Because you’re more confident in yourself and that, but it’s always the same. The lads are still the same — they’re a good bunch of buggers.’’

New Otago coach Dion Ebrahim, a former Zimbabwe cricketer, was also supporting Johnson in his career progression.

‘‘He really backs me and really backs my ability, which is always nice to hear.’’

Over the past couple of seasons, Johnson has been accelerating with the bat.

In 2020, he smashed 72 off 44 deliveries in an appearance for the Volts. That same year he had an unbelievable club cricket innings for North East Valley in Dunedin, finishing 256 not out.

On Tuesday, playing for Otago A, he made 186 runs, including 21 fours and 10 sixes, off 133 balls, against the New Zealand Development XI. Otago A won by 19-runs.

‘‘Over time I’m probably a bit more mature in my decisionmaking. Just learning new shot options and different skill sets, adapting to the pace, and that probably comes a bit easier now.’’

The former Waitaki Boys’ High School pupil has played a massive part in North Otago’s Hawke Cup squad in recent years but was yet to make an appearance this season due to Otago commitments.

However, he followed North Otago’s season closely and was looking forward to getting a game in later in the season.

‘‘Hopefully I can get a few games in February for them, which would be awesome to be up home playing with them.

‘‘It’s just awesome playing with your schoolmates that you grew up with. It’s always nice playing with them and having a laugh on and off the field.’’

At the end of the season Johnson will be heading to Dublin, Ireland, to spend five months playing for the Rush Cricket Club during New Zealand’s winter.

‘‘I’ve been wanting to head over for the last two or three years but just can’t cause of Covid, but this time I should be able to go no matter what.’’