Mitchell Johnson: “Warner Doesn’t Deserve a Swansong”

Mitchell Johnson’s Critical Take on David Warner’s Test Exit

Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has recently voiced strong opinions about David Warner’s imminent departure from Test cricket. In a bold move, Johnson equates Warner’s desire for a grand Test farewell to the infamous sandpaper scandal of 2018, criticizing it as an act of arrogance and disrespect.

Warner’s Inclusion in Australia’s Squad: A Controversial Decision

David Warner’s inclusion in Australia’s 14-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan has sparked debate. Despite his recent lacklustre performance, averaging only 26.74 in his last 36 Test innings, Warner continues to be a pivotal figure in Australian cricket.

Johnson’s Perspective on Warner’s Legacy and Leadership Ban

Mitchell Johnson, who shared the field with Warner in 26 Tests, has openly questioned the rationale behind celebrating Warner’s career end. He highlights Warner’s involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering incident and his subsequent lifetime leadership ban, raising doubts about the appropriateness of a celebratory farewell.

“It’s been five years and David Warner has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal. 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?

“Why a struggling Test opener gets to nominate his own 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 Sandpapergate, 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?”

George Bailey’s Role in Warner’s Career and Selection

The handling of Warner’s career, particularly by George Bailey, chairman of selectors, has also come under scrutiny. Johnson suggests that Bailey’s closeness to Warner might have influenced the selection process, drawing parallels to the handling of Tim Paine’s career conclusion.

Johnson’s Views on the Role of the Head Selector

Johnson also comments on the evolving role of the head selector, suggesting a shift towards a more involved and less impartial position. He notes the increasing tendency for selectors to engage closely with players, contrasting it with previous, more distant approaches.

Australia’s Search for Warner’s Successor

Looking forward, the task of finding Warner’s successor is likened to Australia’s quest to replace Shane Warne. George Bailey emphasizes the importance of managing expectations for Warner’s replacement, acknowledging his unique impact on the game.

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