David Warner has decided to shoulder arms to the vicious delivery that Mitchell Johnson bowled to him a few days ago.
While former speedster Johnson, in a newspaper column, was scathing in his attack on Warner, questioning the latter’s position for setting his own Test retirement date, the Aussie opener refused to engage directly in a war of words as he played down the criticism saying “everyone’s entitled to their opinions”.
The 37-year-old Warner had expressed his desire for a Sydney farewell after the third and final Test against Pakistan starting from January 3, 2024. The three-match Test
series starts in Perth on December 14.
But Johnson thinks Warner doesn’t have the form and the right to make such a decision and had also opened up old wounds by referencing the left-handed batter’s role in the ball-tampering saga in South Africa.
Warner, who has scored 8,487 runs from 109 Tests, has refused to be drawn into the controversy.
Mitchell Johnson. File photo
“It wouldn’t be a summer without a headline, would it?” he asked at the launch of Fox Cricket’s summer coverage in Parramatta on Friday, according to cricket.com.au.
“It is what it is. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions,” he said, adding: “Moving forward, we’re looking forward to a nice Test over in the west.”
Since the summer of 2020-21, Warner has managed one Test century from 25 matches — a memorable double-hundred against South Africa in his 100th Test at the MCG
Australian selectors have stuck to Warner though they will have to determine his replacement beyond Sydney.
Warner said he learned long ago how to deal with such criticisms. “My parents ingrained that into me. They taught me every day to fight and work hard.
“When you go onto the world stage and you don’t realise what comes with that, it’s a lot of media, a lot of criticism but a lot of positive.”
Australia captain Pat Cummins also said that the Test team would be “fiercely protective” of the veteran opener in the face of external attacks.
“I think we protect each other a lot. We’ve been through a lot over the years... our boys, someone like Davey or Steve (Smith), I’ve played with them for a dozen years now, so we’re fiercely protective of each other,” Cummins said.
“We’ve had arguably our most successful year ever. We’re going into a really exciting summer.
“There’s so many positive things around Australian cricket I think we should be talking about and we’re focusing on that (Johnson’s column).”
With inputs from PTI