Former Australian Test cricket captain Mark Taylor says Mitchell Johnson crossed a line when his swipe at David Warner and George Bailey became personal. Johnson's scathing attack on Warner has been the talk of the cricket world, with the former fast bowler declaring Warner didn't deserve a "hero's farewell" and labelling his plan for a dream SCG Test finale "arrogant" in a column for the West Australian.
Johnson claimed Warner had still not fully owned his part in the ball-tampering scandal and suggested his form at Test level over the last couple of years did not warrant his place at the top of the Aussie order. Johnson also took a swipe at national selector Bailey and said he was too close to the situation to be able to make an unbiased call on Warner.
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Aussie cricket legend Taylor says while he has no problems with Johnson giving his opinion as a commentator or an analyst, he insists the quick got it wrong when his comments became personal. "I think as commentators, and Mitchell Johnson is now a commentator like me, you have got to look at things, analyse things and comment but you've got to try and take the personalities out of it," Taylor told 2GB's Wide World of Sports.
"I don't have a problem with anyone talking about numbers, facts [and] data but when it gets personal, that's what you don't want, and I think Mitch has already admitted that he made a mistake in that regard. But, there's nothing wrong in my opinion as a commentator with someone like Mitchell Johnson making a comment about whether he thinks George Bailey should have done this or should have done that.
"That's OK but make sure it's based on facts and data rather than personal feelings. That's probably the only problem out of all of it." Possible explanations for why Johnson's attack on both Warner and Bailey became personal have since emerged, with the former paceman revealing details of text messages he received from the pair earlier this year.
Mitchell Johnson reveals text message from David Warner
Johnson had penned a similarly explosive column about Warner and wife Candice in April, describing her constant defence of her husband in the media as "weird and cringey". Speaking on 'The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show podcast' this week, Johnson revealed that Warner didn't take kindly to the comments and fired off an angry text message.
“I got a message from Dave, which was quite personal and I tried to ring him to talk to him about it,” Johnson said. “It was never a personal thing then. Until that point. That is what prompted me to write the article or part of it as well. It’s definitely a factor. Some of the things that he mentioned in that message.
“I won’t say it because that’s up to Dave to say if he wants to talk about it. There was some stuff in there, which was extremely disappointing what he said and pretty bad to be honest. That sort of was a bit of a driver (to write the latest column)."
Mitchell Johnson unhappy with George Bailey remarks
Johnson also revealed that his swipe at Bailey came after a text message from the chairman of selectors that didn't sit well with the 42-year-old. Bailey reportedly texted Johnson to express his displeasure over another column he wrote regarding Cricket Australia forcing young West Australian bowler Lance Morris to rest from Sheffield Shield games.
“He’d sent me a message after the Lance Morris article. It was just a bit condescending. Typical George sort of stuff. When you receive at odd hours in the morning, it was disappointing,” Johnson said.
The former Test paceman also accused Bailey of trying to discredit his criticism of Warner by making reference to his previous admission about mental health struggles. It came after Bailey insisted the former fast bowler was out of the loop in Australian cricket, before saying "I hope he's OK" in reference to the swipe.
Johnson labelled Bailey's comment "childish and condescending" and insisted it was "disgusting" to make make reference to the 42-year-old's mental health. "To ask if I’m OK because I’ve had mental health issues is pretty much downplaying my article and putting it on mental health, which is quite disgusting," Johnson said on his podcast.
"I'm fine. I’m not angry. I’m not jealous. I’m just writing a piece that for me I felt like I needed to write. It's basically having a dig at someone’s mental health and saying that I must have something going on, a mental health issue, has made me say what I’ve said. That’s not the truth."
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