‘Going to be much harder’: MJ won’t be shushed – and calls out big flaw despite Warner brilliance
Mitchell Johnson wasn’t surprised by David Warner’s first-innings heroics against Pakistan, but stands by his view Australia would have been better served replacing the opener for the series.
Johnson lit the fuse of an explosive debate two weeks ago when he said the retiring Warner didn’t deserve a farewell series due to his poor form over the past three years and involvement in the 2018 Sandpapergate scandal.
Warner hit back by scoring 164 against Pakistan in the first Test in Perth on Thursday.
Upon reaching triple figures – for just the second time in a Test since January 2020 – Warner made a shushing gesture towards the Optus Stadium media centre.
The under-fire opener said his celebration was for anyone “who wants to write stories about me and try to get headlines”.
Johnson said the way Warner reacted to criticism reminded him of former England star Kevin Pietersen.
“Warner may have denied he cares about criticism of his form, but it definitely does drive him as shown in his performance in the first innings,” Johnson wrote in The West Australian.
“That sort of atmosphere is something Warner revels in and he is a bit like Kevin Pietersen was in that regard.
“Pietersen loved it when someone had a go at him on or off the field, he enjoyed the challenge and got up and about and I think it’s the same with Dave.”
Warner was out for a duck in the second innings, but his memorable opening-day century is set to ensure he makes it all the way through to his chosen farewell Test at the SCG.
Johnson stood by his criticism from two weeks ago, again highlighting Warner’s lack of runs across a three-year period.
He also felt Australia missed a golden opportunity to blood new players into an ageing team during a “soft summer”, rather than waiting for upcoming home series against England and India.
“They could have given some new guys some really good time out in the middle this summer and backed them in,” Johnson said.
“That’s going to be much harder across the next two summers when India and England visit for five-Test series.”