- Warner remains bemused by attack from Johnson
- Johnson was scathing in recent newspaper column
- Warner, 37, is keen for answers ahead of first Test
The feud between Mitchell Johnson and David Warner continues to fester, with the batter reportedly contacting a number of former players to try and understand why the legendary left-arm fast bowler unleashed on him.
Johnson didn’t mince his words in an explosive newspaper column in which he claimed Warner did not deserve a ‘hero’s farewell’ this summer given his involvement in the notorious Sandpapergate cheating scandal in 2018.
The ex-paceman also highlighted Warner’s lack of runs in Tests in recent years before singling out chairman of selectors George Bailey.
He then doubled down on his criticism of Warner and Bailey on a podcast with cricket writer Bharat Sundaresan.
Now it has been reported that Warner – who wants to retire from the Test arena during January’s SCG clash with Pakistan – wants to know why Johnson targeted him personally in the column.
Warner ‘has contacted current and former Australian players’ to try and get a read on Johnson as the Aussie opener remains ‘in the dark’ following the attack, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The feud between Mitchell Johnson and David Warner is showing no signs of slowing down, with the batter (left) reportedly contacting a number of former players to understand why the left-arm fast bowler unleashed on him
Pat Cummins (pictured with wife Becky) has opened up about Mitchell’s attack on Warner – and said the current team is ‘fiercely protective’ of the star batter
Former captain Steve Waugh stressed Johnson and Warner are ‘both adults who are entitled to their opinions and should be able to handle criticism’
One source told the publication: ‘It’s the fourth or fifth time Mitch has unloaded on what has been a pretty successful Australian side.’
Many current stars are said to be bemused by Johnson’s scathing criticism, given the Aussies won the World Test Championship, the recent ODI World Cup in India and retained the Ashes this year.
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh stressed Johnson and Warner ‘are both adults who are entitled to their opinions and should be able to handle criticism.’
Warner finally broke his silence on the matter on Friday, stating Johnson is entitled to his views, however blunt.
‘It wouldn’t be a summer without a headline, would it?’ he said at the launch of Fox Cricket’s summer coverage in Parramatta on Friday.
‘It is what it is. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. ‘Moving forward, we are looking forward to a nice Test over in the west.’
Current skipper Pat Cummins also confirmed the playing group had rallied around Warner.
‘We protect each other a lot. We have been through a lot over the years,’ he said.
‘I’ve played alongside someone like Davey or Steve [Smith] for a dozen years now. [We are] fiercely protective of each other.
‘It is hard to say [what Mitch’s motivation is]. You will have to ask Mitch. But there are so many things we should be celebrating about Australian cricket at the moment.
Cummins and Warner are pictured at an event in Sydney on Friday with fellow cricket stars Alyssa Healy and Usman Khawaja
‘There are so many exciting things about Australian cricket at the moment and I think we should be focusing and talking about that.’
Cummins also defended selector Bailey, whose Johnson felt was ‘too close’ to the players.
‘I think it has been brilliant. George has been fantastic. He makes my job really easy,’ Cummins said.
‘I remember a couple of old coaches of mine saying the playing XI will always look after itself. It is the guys on the fringes who are always the hardest to manage because they have obvious disappointments.
‘Seeing the way George has managed that over the years, it’s been brilliant. I have never seen a selector be as hands on and as impressive as George has been.’
Since the summer of 2020/21, the under pressure Warner has managed only one Test century from 25 matches – a memorable double-hundred against South Africa in his 100th Test at the MCG in late 2022.
Australian selectors have stuck by Warner amid the lean stretch, which has admittedly featured two dismissals in the 90s, and are in the midst of determining his replacement beyond Sydney.
The first Test against Pakistan at Optus Stadium in Perth begins on December 14.
Johnson is tipped to be in the commentary box for Triple M, where he could be required to interview Warner in scenes which could be beyond awkward.