Mitchell Johnson has revealed how a text message from David Warner earlier this year sparked his latest explosive comments about the veteran Aussie opener. In a column for the West Australian last weekend, Johnson declared that Warner didn't deserve a "hero's farewell" amid his plans to retire from Test cricket at the SCG this summer.
Johnson said Warner's recent Test form doesn't even warrant selection, and declared the 37-year-old shouldn't be treated like a hero because he still hasn't taken full accountability for the South Africa ball-tampering scandal. Johnson's comments have left the cricket world gobsmacked, with former captain Michael Clarke revealing there was no ill-will between Johnson and Warner during their time in the Australian team.
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But Johnson has now revealed how a text he received from Warner earlier this year was the catalyst for his extraordinary swipe. 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".
On Monday, 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 on 'The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show podcast'.
“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)."
Johnson also took aim at chairman of selectors George Bailey and suggested he was too close to the situation regarding Warner's farewell because they recently played together. On Monday, Johnson revealed his swipe at Bailey was also in response to a text message.
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.
Mitchell Johnson swipes Warner and Bailey again
In the podcast, Johnson doubled down on his criticisms of Warner and Bailey, saying they should have called him rather than texted. “If you look at David’s form...His form in England wasn’t great," he said. "So you sort of go 'that’s not picking someone on form'. I’ve written good articles about David as well. I’ve always said that I’m a very different thinker. I’m not a traditional cricket player. I didn’t play a lot at a young age. I didn’t grow up with it as much as others. I always questioned things and had a different thought process.
“And I probably was set off by receiving a message from him (Bailey) at odd hours in the morning and him not showing the respect to make a phone call. That’s pretty much that.
“The thing I struggle with the most is not having those phone calls. I would have preferred to have a conversation with those guys, face-to-face. The best way to do it. To get those messages I felt it was disrespectful.
“And that Lance Morris article was based on my experience as well. I had back stress fractures. I had four of them. I’ve got this position because of my experience. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve copped it from the crowds because I bowled a couple of wides in my career and I came out on top. And I feel like I’m in a position to write what I write because I’ve gone through all of it.”
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