Retired Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has revealed new details about what led to his recent harsh criticism of opening batsman David Warner regarding Warner’s planned retirement from test cricket.
In a column last weekend, Johnson stated that Warner does not deserve a “hero’s farewell” or a test recall, citing his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
Johnson shared that earlier this year, Warner had sent him an angry, “disrespectful” text message in response to comments Mitchell Johnson made about Warner’s wife Candice constantly defending him publicly, which Johnson described as “weird and cringey.” Johnson said, “I got a message from Dave, which was quite personal, and I tried to ring him to talk to him about it. It was never a personal thing then. Until that point, That is what prompted me to write the article or part of it as well. It’s definitely a factor.”
Although the two played together on the Australian National Team, Johnson emphasized their different upbringings, saying, “I didn’t grow up with it [cricket] as much as others. I always questioned things and had a different thought process.” Johnson stood by his criticisms, adding, “If you look at David’s form, his form in England wasn’t great. So you sort of go, ‘That’s not picking someone on form’.”
In the podcast interview where Johnson revealed the text from Warner, he also shared that current Chairman of Selectors George Bailey had texted Johnson disapprovingly after Johnson published an article critical of Cricket Australia’s treatment of young bowler Lance Morris. Johnson found Bailey’s text “condescending” and wishes they had discussed it face-to-face instead. Johnson said, “I would have preferred to have a conversation with those guys face-to-face. The best way to do it To get those messages, I felt it was disrespectful.”
Johnson has a history of making controversial statements, from calling out administrators for favoritism in team selection to critiquing bowling actions that could cause injury. He explained, “I’ve copped it from the crowds because I bowled a couple of wides in my career and I came out on top. And I feel like I’m in a position to write what I write because I’ve gone through all of it.”
While Johnson’s recent criticisms of David Warner have made major waves in the cricket world, he feels his unique career path and experiences give him the credentials to make bold statements. Only time will tell whether his words inspire any changes or impact planning around Warner’s test retirement plans.