Mitchell Johnson has reignited his beef with David Warner after savaging his former Australia teammate over his Sydney Test farewell plan. Warner announced earlier this year that he plans to retire from Test cricket after the third match against Pakistan in January, in front of his home crowd at the SCG.
Australia captain Pat Cummins and coach Andrew McDonald both poured cold water over the idea after admitting that Warner was no certainty to be picked for the Sydney Test, despite the batter on Sunday being included in Australia's squad for the first Test in Perth. It's a sentiment echoed by Warner's former Aussie Test teammate Johnson, who has branded the 37-year-old opener "arrogant" after claiming the batter does not deserve to dictate the way he bows out of red-ball cricket.
Johnson was outspoken in his criticism of Warner during this year's Ashes series after arguing that the veteran's form did not warrant him opening the batting for Australia. Warner only managed two scores over 50 and averaged 29 with the bat across a largely underwhelming 10 innings during the Ashes series in England.
Amid calls from Johnson to drop Warner before the Ashes due to his poor form, the opener's wife Candice fired back at the fast bowling great, accusing him of using Warner's name just to get a headline. Johnson continued the beef with Candice by labelling the staunch support of her husband "weird and cringey".
David Warner accused of 'arrogance and disrespect'
In an article for the West Australian, Johnson has continued his beef with Warner by insisting the 37-year-old should not be afforded the luxury of retiring on his own terms. Apart from Warner's well documented struggles with the bat, Johnson says the veteran has "still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal", five years on from the controversy that saw him slapped with a huge ban.
“Does this really warrant a swan song, 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,” Johnson wrote. "It’s been five years and 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.”
Johnson's swipe came after Australia's skipper and coach claimed earlier this week that Warner was no certainty to feature at the top of the order for the three-Test series against Pakistan. Warner was on Sunday named in Australia's squad for the first Test starting on December 14 in Perth. "He's a great of our game in all formats, no doubt that's part of it," Cummins said. "(But) first and foremost you always think of the performance side of things when you're picking a side.
David Warner's dream SCG Test farewell no guarantee
Australia's coach echoed his skipper's sentiment after also refusing to guarantee Warner's Test spot. "That will all be decided later this week," McDonald told SEN. "Like any other decision, (it's about) working out who is the best player for that position at that point in time."
Johnson was quick to scrutinise the statement from Australia's coach about their selection strategy after suggesting that "it doesn’t seem to have applied to Warner for quite a while". The brutal nature of the SCG pitch for batters could also come into sharp focus for Warner and his plans for a dream farewell in Sydney.
The third day of the recent Sheffield Shield contest between NSW and Tasmania at the SCG saw the visitors bowled out for just 68 on a day three that saw a staggering 24 wickets fall. The Blues were only defending 143 after being bowled out for just 118 in their second innings but won with more than a day to spare in scenes described as "an absolute disgrace" and "embarrassing" from former Aussie captain Tim Paine.
Warner, who averages just under 50 in Tests at the SCG, plans to farewell red-ball cricket in front of family and friends during the third Test from January 3-7. Selectors appear likely to grant Warner his wish despite the 37-year-old's patchy form in red-ball cricket over the past two years.
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