AUS vs PAK Tests: Mitchell Johnson Omitted From Commentary Panel Amid ‘Warner’ Controversy

Mitchell Johnson and David Warner, former teammates in the Australian cricket team, are caught up in a heated controversy. Johnson alleged in his column that Warner’s selection for the Pakistan Test series was influenced by his impending retirement rather than his performance. Additionally, Johnson criticised the close relationship between chief selector George Bailey and the players, impacting the selection process.

Initially set to join Triple M’s commentary team for the series, Johnson’s absence was noticeable when the final list of commentators, including cricket legends like Merv Hughes, Wasim Akram, and Mark Taylor, was released by the company, sparking speculation.

There are strong speculations that Mitchell Johnson might have been removed or sidelined due to his outspoken criticism of David Warner. Johnson’s scathing remarks targeted Warner’s inclusion in the Australia squad for the 1st Test against Pakistan, emphasising Warner’s recent poor form in Test cricket. He suggested that Warner’s selection might have been influenced by his intention to retire after the Pakistan series, implying a “hero send-off” gesture. Johnson also alleged that Warner’s close ties with chief selector George Bailey might have played a role in his selection.

Additionally, Johnson disclosed receiving “pretty bad” messages from Warner following a column he wrote on Warner’s wife, Candice, for defending Warner’s place in the team, which further fueled his discontent. The veteran pacer acknowledged these messages, alongside Warner’s involvement in the Sandpaper gate scandal, as factors that motivated his critical column on Warner. However, it’s not confirmed whether Johnson’s departure from his role was directly related to these controversies and remarks about Warner.

“I got a message from Dave, which was quite personal. I tried to ring to try and talk to him about it, which I’ve always been open to. I know I’ve been open to the guys when I finished playing. I said if I’m in the media and writing things or saying things that you don’t like, just come and speak to me,” the former Australia pacer said on The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show.

“It was never a personal thing until this point. This is probably what drove me to write the article as well, part of it. It was definitely a factor. Some of the stuff that was said in that, I won’t say it. I think that’s up to Dave to say it if he wants to talk about it. There was some stuff in there that was extremely disappointing, what he said, and pretty bad to be honest,” he added.

Pakistan is in Australia for three test matches after their disappointing run in the recently concluded World Cup 2023. The first test match will be played in Perth, Western Australia on December 14 from 7:50 AM IST.

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