Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson says David Warner should not have been allowed to pick his own Test cricket retirement date.
Warner was on Sunday named in a 14-man Australia squad to face Pakistan in a three-Test series.
The 37-year-old opening batsman plans to quit Test cricket after the third Test at his home SCG in January, but continue in white-ball cricket.
“It’s been five years and David Warner has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal. Now the way he is going out is underpinned by more of the same arrogance and disrespect to our country,” Johnson wrote in a column for The West Australian.
“As we prepare for David Warner’s farewell series, can somebody please tell me why? “
Why a struggling Test opener gets to nominate his own retirement date. And why a player at the centre of one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket history warrants a hero’s send-off?
“Warner certainly isn’t Australia’s Test captain and never deserved to be for that matter. In fact, he ends his career under a lifetime leadership ban.
“Yes, he has a decent overall record and some say is one of our greatest opening bats. But his past three years in Test cricket have been ordinary, with a batting average closer to what a tail-ender would be happy with.
“It’s the ball-tampering disgrace in South Africa that many will never forget. Although Warner wasn’t alone in Sandpapergate, he was at the time a senior member of the team and someone who liked to use his perceived power as a ‘leader’.
“Does this really warrant a swansong, a last hurrah against Pakistan that was forecast a year in advance as if he was bigger than the game and the Australian cricket team?”
Johnson also questioned why Warner was selected, given his recent Test-match form.
“Granted he made his double century against South Africa at the MCG last summer, but they were the only runs he had scored in years. Leading into this year’s Ashes series that was the only time he had reached 50 in his previous 17 Test innings,” he wrote.