Johnson believes Warner does not deserve swan song test

Henry

The table may be set for David Warner’s final red-ball cricket match against Pakistan, but a former team-mate has questioned the fanfare surrounding the curtain-raiser moment.

“It is now five years later and David Warner has never really put his hand in his own bosom about the ball-tampering scandal. Now the big fuss that accompanies his last Test testifies to the very arrogance,” Mitchell Johnson in his column for The Western Australian writing.

Footage from the 2018 Test at Newlands against the Proteas showed the Aussies – most likely with a piece of sandpaper – fiddling with the ball to try and reverse swing.

Steve Smith, then captain of Australia, broke down in tears shortly afterwards as he apologized to cricket fans worldwide for his role in the scandal, while Warner and Cameron Bancroft were also banned from the game for several months.

According to Johnson – who took 313 wickets in his 73 Tests for Australia – the 37-year-old Warner does not necessarily deserve a red carpet moment on the bat.

“Can someone please explain to me how a struggling opening batsman bids farewell to Test cricket on his own terms? In the same breath, one might also ask how a player – who played a huge role in one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket – is greeted like a hero?”

In his last 36 innings, Warner maintains an average of just over 26 and a biting Johnson believes that is simply not good enough.

However, it is his involvement in the sandpaper fiasco that causes the most bitter taste in the former fast bowler’s mouth.

“Admittedly, Warner was not the only one involved, but he was a senior player and someone who liked to abuse his power as a so-called “leader”. Does he really deserve a swansong against Pakistan; something that was announced a year in advance as if he was bigger than the game or the Australian cricket team?”

Australia squad for first Test against Pakistan: Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Lance Morris, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and David Warner.