NSW coach Dominic Thornely has urged Australia’s cricket selectors to take Sammy-Jo Johnson to New Zealand, certain she is ready to represent her country.
Selectors will this week name an extended squad for next month’s tour, which includes three Twenty20s and three ODIs against the White Ferns.
Johnson has long loomed as a potential bolter and this summer became the first person to win three straight Big Bash titles, but is yet to be picked for a tour.
But Thornely claimed the time has come for the 28-year-old, particularly owing to the improvement in her death bowling.
Johnson was the WBBL’s leading wicket-taker this season with 22 at an average of 14.81.
“She was able to obviously shape the new ball,” Thornely said.
“But it was more her evolution to bowl at the back-end of an innings that stood out. At the Thunder she bowled the death and she was very successful there.
“In New Zealand at the back-end of matches there would probably be a bit of swing.”
A NSW junior, Johnson moved back from Queensland this summer as an allrounder after helping Brisbane win last summer’s Big Bash final with the bat.
Her return came with the belief it would boost her international chances, with several Australia players and national bowling coach Ben Sawyer in the group.
“The fresh coaches and different eyes on me (will help),” Johnson told AAP in June.
“If I can perform good results on the board week after week, hopefully I can give (Australia’s) selectors no reason not to pick me.
“It’s one of the hardest teams in the country to get into.
“But if I can put my hand up and say ‘give me a crack’, I guarantee I only need one shot. You won’t get me out.”
Johnson’s drive has not been lost on Thornely.
“That’s what appealed to me most,” he said.
“She also did more running this pre-season than she ever has before.
“There are the attributes we’ve really worked hard with her on to evolve her cricket so she’s able to present herself for selection.
“She’s pretty much ready. It’s just a matter of trying to find an opportunity in such a dominant team.”