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CricketMitchell Johnson lashes out David Warner, questions batters 'farewell'

Srinagar: Former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson has lashed out Australia senior batter David Warner for refusing to accept responsibility for ball tampering scandal and has also questioned Test farewell to left handed batter.

David Warner was named in Australia’s 14-man squad announced by Cricket Australia (CA) on Sunday with George Bailey, chairman of the selectors, saying he was in Australia’s best XI.

Johnson, who represented Australia in 256 international matches, wrote in his Sunday column in The West Australian has slammed Warner.

“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 has a 26.74 average in red-ball cricket over the last two years and struggled to score big during the Ashes 2023 as the left-handed batter could only amass 285 runs in 10 innings at an average of 28.50.

Johnson couldn’t understand why a player who has been struggling badly in Test cricket announced his own retirement and is getting a hero’s send-off.

“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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