Former Test skippers respond to cricket firebrand Mitchell Johnson’s extraordinary attack on David Warner and Aussie selectors
Ex-Aussie captains Michael Clarke and Tim Paine have broken their silence over Mitchell Johnson's extraordinary swipe at ex-teammate David Warner.
Johnson wrote an explosive column for The West Australian on Saturday questioning why Warner deserved a “hero send-off” after his role in Sandpaper Gate and a run of poor form.
Johnson also took aim at the professionalism of national selector George Bailey and questioned whether he was too close to the players.
Paine and Clarke both commented on the cheeky column on Monday morning's radio, with Paine saying Johnson's points had been ruined by the personal nature of the attack.
“If you read between the lines, I think he and Davey Warner clearly don't get along,” Paine said on his Hobart SEN breakfast radio show.
Johnson shocked the cricket world by writing an explosive column for The West Australian on Saturday questioning why Warner deserved a 'hero send-off'
Johnson suggested fans could wave sandpaper during his final matches because of his role in Sandpaper Gate
“So it's a little easier for him to fire a few shots at him.
'They're just different people. I have nothing to say about that. They're just different. I'm just reading between the lines. Reading that, I know they probably won't get along.
'But again some of his points about his (Warner's) stats and his position in the team and the fact he got a bit of extra time were probably ruined by the personal nature of it.
'And put sandpaper in it again. And saying that David is a person who used his leadership role for power. I played with David and he certainly didn't do that.
'I thought the article was quite good. There were a lot of questions people wanted to ask and it generated a lot of interest and a lot of thinking, even from someone like me.
'I thought he just went a little too far in some things, which ruined it for me. I just thought the George thing was a bit redundant.”
Clarke, Johnson's captain, was genuinely surprised by the comments and said he had seen no evidence of any 'beef' between the pair while they played together.
'On every sports team. Not everyone continues. Not everyone is best friends,” Clarke said during the Big Sports Breakfast.
Tim Paine said the feuding pair clearly don't get along, although he accepted the article raised some “pretty valid points”
Clarke was genuinely surprised by Johnson's attack and said he had no knowledge of any serious altercation between the pair
“Dave is a strong character, Mitch is a strong character, (they) went at each other hard in the nets.
“I saw that, but I couldn't sit here and say they were fighting with each other when we played.”
Clarke stressed the importance of former players with jobs being able to express their views in the media, but advised him to avoid personal attacks.
“I imagine this is a paid column that he writes for that newspaper, so he has to say what he feels and if that's how he feels, that's how he feels,” he said.
'I hope there are no problems. I think the one thing you can do when you're in a role like this is have an opinion and it's based on what's best for the team. I think you have to deal with that, but that should never happen.” be personal, or I'm trying not to make it personal, and if it comes across that way, I think you're trying to apologize for it because you don't mean it that way.
“Maybe I missed something here because Mitch hasn't played in years, so maybe there's beef I don't know about.”
Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann said both Johnson and Warner were “good guys” and he hopes they “come together and sort it out”.
Ex-Australian coach Darren Lehmann said both Johnson and Warner were 'good lads'
Lehmann also said Johnson would have thought “long and hard” about the column.
“He's got something to say and it's been an interesting 24 to 48 hours… with what's been happening behind the scenes,” he said on RSN 927 in Melbourne.
'I think that's what you have to do as a journalist sometimes. When you venture into that area, you have to have an opinion. He has his thoughts and writes them down on paper, and that makes for different reading for different people.
'Mitch has been involved in the scheme for a long time. He kind of knows what's going on. Whether you agree with it or not, it is his opinion and he is entitled to it.'