Joey's surprise code switch SMH League's most prodigious playmaker, Andrew Johns, is to represent NSW in cricket. Johns, who occasionally plays for Newcastle's Merewether club in the lower grades, will represent the Blues in at least two Twenty20 matches next summer. Johns's selection was approved at a NSW Cricket Board meeting. Johns will play for NSW against South Australia at Newcastle's No. 1 Sports Ground on Sunday, January 7, and against South Australia at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on Wednesday, January 10. The move smacks of a publicity stunt, and Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert acknowledged as much. "Having a figure with the immense popularity of Andrew Johns represent his state in these matches will trigger unprecedented interest," he said. And the mutually beneficial publicity was not lost on Newcastle Knights chief executive Ken Conway either. "As the game's No. 1 player, his appearances will be of significant promotional value to rugby league," he said. But NSW captain Simon Katich said he would want Johns to play if NSW qualified for a home final. Johns said today he would play a few practice matches with Merewether in preparation for his NSW debut. "[NSW coach] Trevor Bayliss has also invited me to attend a few practice sessions," he said. "Believe me, IÃ¢Â€Â™ll need all the help I can get. The prospect of batting against Shaun Tait, who bowls as fast as Brett Lee, and Jason Gillespie in the first match is already giving me nightmares." Gilbert said today he first discussed the concept with Johns's manager, John Fordham, about two months ago. "In those discussions, John Fordham pointed out that the great Reg Gasnier represented a NSW XI captained by Richie Benaud in a match against Fiji at the SCG back in 1960 so in many ways a precedent had been established," said Gilbert. "Also in the line-up were fellow Test players Norm O'Neill, Jim Burke, Keith Miller, Alan Davidson and Neil Harvey."