Mitchell Johnson Slams David Warner's "Hero's Sendoff", Australia Chief Selector Responds
Australia's chief selector has responded to Mitchell Johnson's criticism of David Warner ahead of the Pakistan Test series.
- NDTV Sports Desk
- Updated: December 04, 2023 12:09 PM IST
Australia's squad selection for the Test series against Pakistan hasn't been without controversy. David Warner's inclusion in the series hasn't gone down well with former Australia star Mitchell Johnson who lashed out at the Aussie opener, while also reigniting the ball-tampering controversy. Johnson, in his criticism for Warner, said that the southpaw doesn't deserve a "hero's sendoff" referring to the Pakistan series being his last.
Not just that, Johnson also targeted Australia's chief selector George Bailey for selectoring Warner despite his poor Test form.
"When then-captain Tim Paine's career was ending over the sexting controversy, chairman of selectors George Bailey said he didn't want to be part of deciding Paine's fate because the pair were close friends. The handling of Warner in recent years, who played with Bailey in all three forms, raises the question of whether Bailey was simply too quickly out of playing and into the job and too close to some of the players," said Johnson in his column for The West Australian.
When Bailey was asked about Johnson's comments, he said that he hopes the latter is OK.
"I've been sent little snippets of it. I hope he's OK. I've got no idea [if he is]. My only observation would be if someone can show me how being distant and unaware of what players are going through and what the plans are with the team and with the coaching staff, how that's more beneficial, I'd be all ears," said Bailey.
Ahead Of Pakistan Tests, Australia Chief Selector Responds To Mitchell Johnson's Criticism Of David Warner
As far as Warner's record in Tests is concerned, he has featured in 109 Test matches for Australia, scoring 8487 runs at an average of 44.33. In tota, he has scored 25 hundreds and 36 half-centuries in his red-ball career for the Aussies.
Since 2020, however, Warner's Test average has been reduced to just 31.79. Yet, Bailey feels he is one of Australia's finest players in the longest format.
"Ultimately, we still think he's in our best 11 players to win the first Test. I think Test cricket, in terms of the way that the World Test Championship points are set up, each Test is critical. There're points on the line for each and every game.
"So our focus is very much on picking the 11 that we think can do the job and obviously there're roles within that for each individual and how that actually structures up the team as a whole; and we think David is the right person for that for this Test," said Bailey to reporters.
Bailey admitted that Australia are in the hunt to find Warner's successor.
"That ability to put the opposition under pressure is pretty special, and not to be taken lightly. Whenever you've had someone who's had that longevity and been so dominating in a role, (it's important) just to temper the expectations of whoever is going to be the replacement there."
"I think back to Warnie finishing up as a spinner and how many spinners got brought in and shuffled out in the quest to almost try and replicate Warnie. I don't think you ever try and replicate someone who's played a role for as long as someone has done it as well as they have."
"I'd put David in that category, the way he's opened the batting for Australia for such a long period of time. So that's something that we're certainly conscious of making sure that the fit post-David is the right one."