Johnson hot streak to bring millions

Mitchell Johnson's Ashes heroics are set to reap the reborn superstar a multimillion-dollar payday through potentially lucrative deals on and off the field.

The rejuvenated Johnson, whose hot streak has Australia on the verge of reclaiming the urn, is likely to be given a hefty pay rise by Cricket Australia in the next contract period and will also be high on the wish list of many Indian Premier League franchises.

Johnson's stocks have risen significantly since he was awarded a central contract in April by CA for the 2013-14 season, to the point where only captain Michael Clarke would sit above him on the rankings system used to rate players.

Back then, he was on the outer of the Test side and not in selectors' plans for the Ashes series in England. Now, however, he is an integral member of the national team in all three forms of the game.

Only Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and George Bailey feature in the Test, ODI and Twenty20 sides for Australia.

The top handful of players on CA's contract list stand to earn in excess of $1 million.

Australia has a quiet winter next year, paving the way for Johnson to play the whole of the IPL and thus attract plenty of interest from franchises.

It will help drive his price up from the $US300,000 paid by Mumbai Indians in early 2012 when the paceman was injured and out of form.

Fairfax Media has been told by one IPL source the 32-year-old could fetch a price equivalent to the $1 million mark (purses will for the first time next year be in rupees instead of dollars) should Mumbai choose not to retain him before next February's auction.

Indian cricket authorities are yet to finalise the player retention model for next season but, based on recent talks in Singapore, franchises may be allowed to retain as many as five players.

Also a capable lower-order batsman and fielder, Johnson, who was equal third on the wickets list in this year's IPL, will be highly sought after as he fulfils the criteria of being adept at more than one discipline.

"The players most attractive from an overseas [non-Indian] perspective are exceptionally skilled in one discipline but also have good second skills," one source said.

Johnson's express speed will also drive up his price. "Where are India most susceptible? Pace," the source said.

Johnson's manager, Sam Halvorsen, is expecting prospective sponsors to come knocking early next year and has hired an agent in India to explore opportunities on the subcontinent.

He parted ways with long-time partners underwear brand Jockey and shoe suppliers Betts but currently holds deals with Asics, Spartan Sports and industrial supply company Blackwoods.

"I'd expect we'd receive a bit of interest in the new year, especially if he keeps performing well and we end up winning the Ashes - that would have an impact," Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen, however, said Johnson's main priority remained on the field. "If you take up too much sponsorship stuff, being a fast bowler it can have a deleterious effect on your preparation – and that's not what we want," Halvorsen said.

Johnson is also raising money for Movember, which supports men's health, with his moustache, which he has vowed not to shave until after the Ashes.

Respected sports media and marketing expert Michael Blucher, who recently released a book into the sports industry called Bubble Boys, believes Johnson has captured the public's imagination.

"It's not just what he's done but how he's gone about it - the rallying of the nation, the sheer aggression," Blucher said.

Blucher said Australian cricket was currently devoid of heroes, apart from Clarke –whom he believed the public were only starting to warm to.

"Beyond that, who is there? The cupboard's bare," Blucher said. "There's a level of respect for them but occupying the hearts and the minds there aren't many. The void's there and at the moment Mitchell Johnson is filling it 1000 per cent."

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