"Arrogance and disrespect" - Mitchell Johnson takes aim at David Warner as retirement looms
The former Australia fast-bowler says Warner "has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal" which emerged in 2018 and led to a 12-month ban from cricket. Selected in the 14-player squad for the first Pakistan Test, his final bow beckons
David Warner is displaying "arrogance and disrespect" as his retirement from cricket approaches, according to former Australia teammate Mitchell Johnson.
Writing in The West Australian, the ex-fast-bowler also accused the 37-year-old of having "never really owned the ball-tampering scandal" in Cape Town in 2018 which saw him banned from cricket for 12 months and unable to hold a leadership position in the country again.
Johnson and Warner played together across formats for six years and were both part of the squads which won the Ashes in 2013/14 and the home ODI World Cup in 2015.
In June, Warner outlined his retirement plans which will see him step away from Australian cricket after the Pakistan Test series, mid-way through the home summer.
On Sunday (December 3) he was named in the 14-strong squad for the first Test in Perth. But Johnson has questioned why the left-hander, who has averaged 28.90 since the start of 2021 with one hundred, six fifties and three ducks in 44 innings, has been afforded such special treatment.
Warner and Johnson celebrate Australia winning the 2015 ODI World Cup (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
He also added that Warner's closeness with chairman of selectors George Bailey could be viewed as a conflict of interest.
"It's been five years and David Warner has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal," Johnson, who took 313 Test wickets, 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?
"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."
He added: "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?
"I hope he's ok" - George Bailey would not be drawn on Johnson's comments (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
"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."
Expanding on the relationship between Warner and Bailey, Johnson explained: "The handling of Warner in recent years, who played with Bailey in all three forms, raises the question of whether Bailey was simply too quickly out of playing and into the job and too close to some of the players.
"I also wonder what the role of the head selector is these days. It seems to have moved to be a part of the inner sanctum rather than standing aside from it. There's now throw downs for the players, golfing together and celebrating wins to all hours."
Bailey enjoyed an Australia career spanning 125 matches across formats and was part of the Ashes whitewash nine years ago and the World Cup triumph on home soil, alongside Johnson and Warner. Asked for his response to the column, he said: "I've been sent little snippets of it. I hope he's ok."
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