'Entitled to his opinion', Warner responds to Johnson's criticism

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 8 (IANS): Australia's David Warner has said that his former team-mate Mitchell Johnson is entitled to his opinion, however scathing, about the opener's retirement plans.

Warner said Johnson was "entitled to opinion" after the pacer expressed his disapproval in a column for The West Australian, questioning over why the left-handed opener is getting a hero's send-off while still not owning up to his role in the infamous 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

As Australian captain Pat Cummins declared that the Test team would be "fiercely protective" of the seasoned opener in the event of outside assaults, Warner refrained from adding gasoline to the flames.

"It wouldn't be a summer without a headline, would it?" said Warner 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're looking forward to a nice Test over in the west."

Warner, focused on ending his career on a high, said he learned long ago to knuckle down in the face of criticism like Johnson's.

"My parents ingrained that into me," he said. "They taught me every day to fight and work hard. When you go onto the world stage and you don't realise what comes with that, it's a lot of media, a lot of criticism but a lot of positive.

"I think what's more important is what you see here today, the people coming out to support cricket."

Warner has only scored one Test century in 25 matches since the summer of 2020–21; that century came in his 100th Test at the MCG in late 2022 when he amassed a remarkable double-hundred against South Africa.

Australian selectors have been loyal to Warner over the rough patch, which has undoubtedly included two dismissals in the 1990s, and are currently deciding who would replace him after Sydney. The team has shown to be just as encouraging lately.