Australian selector George Bailey has hit back at Aussie cricket great Mitchell Johnson after the former fast bowler called out the David Warner farewell situation in a column over the weekend. Johnson caused a stir within the Aussie cricket community on the weekend taking a shot at Warner's form as he claimed the opener shouldn't have been able to announce when he wanted a farewell Test.
The opener has struggled against the red-ball for a number of years with his last two series in India and England seeing the 37-year-old cop plenty of criticism for a poor showing. While there is no one banging the door down to take Warner's position, in an article for the West Australian, Johnson continued his beef with the 37-year-old and said he should not be afforded the luxury of retiring on his own terms.
He called out Warner for the 'arrogant' move of making the announcement months ahead of his farewell. “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.”
Former fast bowler Brendon Julian did agree with Johnson's point that Warner put pressure on himself having announced when he would retire in the Australian summer, despite not scoring runs in the team. Julian said he feels no player deserves the right to choose their farewell when they aren't at the top of their game.
Unfortunately, Warner has been dealing with backlash over his selection for a number of years due to his form. Although Julian claimed Warner would be in the starting XI this summer without a natural candidate for the opening role.
And selector Bailey reiterated Julian's claim Warner would have been in their starting XI for the first Test. Although he hit back at Johnson and said he feels the former fast bowler is not aware of how the team is dealing with the retirement of the veteran in the summer.
"I've been sent little snippets of it - I hope he's OK," Bailey said. "My only question would be ... if someone can show me how being distant and unaware of what players are going through and what the plans are with their team and the coaching staff, how that's more beneficial, I'd be all ears. Ultimately we still think he's in our best 11 players to win the first Test. We think David is the right person."
David Warner heading towards SCG farewell
Warner will start the summer opening with Usman Khawaja despite having scored just one Test century since January 2020, a memorable 200 against South Africa in last year's Boxing Day match. Warner averages just 28 in Test cricket since the 2019-20 summer.
Bailey admitted the group deserved an Australian summer after such a successful 2023 season. "This group, led by Pat Cummins, has built a strong resume over an extended period," Bailey said. "We believe they have earnt the opportunity to start in our first home Test match at the beginning of the new World Test Championship cycle.
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