Mitchell Johnson says Warner has never “owned” the ball-tampering scandal.
He says Warner is not one of Australia’s greatest opening batsmen.
He says Warner is a “struggling Test opener” who doesn’t deserve a hero’s send-off.
Mitchell Johnson, a former Australian pacer, took aim at former teammate David Warner’s desire for a farewell, given that the left-hander will likely play in his final red-ball series this month against Pakistan.
Australia’s 14-man squad was revealed by Cricket Australia (CA) on Sunday. George Bailey, the chairman of the selectors, declared Warner to be in the country’s best XI.
Despite being involved in a ball-tampering incident in 2018, Johnson—who played for Australia in 256 international matches—explained in his Sunday column in The West Australian why the selectors are treating Warner so nicely.
“It’s been five years and David Warner has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal,” Johnson wrote. “Now the way he is going out is underpinned by more of the same arrogance and disrespect to our country.
“As we prepare for David Warner’s farewell series, can somebody please tell me why?”
Warner, who has struggled to get runs in red-ball cricket over the past two years (average of 26.74), was only able to gather 285 runs at an average of 28.50 in 10 innings during the 2023 Ashes.
Johnson found it incomprehensible that a player get a hero’s send-off for his self-announced retirement and severe struggles in Test cricket?
“Why a struggling Test opener gets to nominate his retirement date. And why a player at the centre of one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket history warrants a hero’s send-off?
“Warner certainly isn’t Australia’s Test captain and never deserved to be for that matter. In fact, he ends his career under a lifetime leadership ban.
“Yes, he has a decent overall record and some say is one of our greatest opening bats. But his past three years in Test cricket have been ordinary, with a batting average closer to what a tailender would be happy with.
“It’s the ball-tampering disgrace in South Africa that many will never forget. Although Warner wasn’t alone in Sand papergate, he was at the time a senior member of the team and someone who liked to use his perceived power as a ‘leader’.
“Does this really warrant a swansong, a last hurrah against Pakistan that was forecast a year in advance as if he was bigger than the game and the Australian cricket team?
“Granted he made his double century against South Africa at the MCG last summer, but they were the only runs he had scored in years. Leading into this year’s Ashes series that was the only time he had reached 50 in his previous 17 Test innings.”
Johnson also lashed out at one of his former teammates, George Bailey, who refused to comment on the former pacer’s article.
“I’ve been sent little snippets of it,” Bailey said. “I hope he’s okay.”
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