Anthony Mundine (c) with Gosh Daher (l) and David Warner (r).
Anthony Mundine (c) has leapt to the defence of under-fire Australia opener David Warner (r). Image by HANDOUT/ANTHONY MUNDINE
  • cricket

Johnson ‘un-Australian’ for questioning Warner: Mundine

Darren Walton December 6, 2023

Mitchell Johnson has been branded “un-Australian” for declaring star opener David Warner should not be guaranteed a Test-match swan song in front of his Sydney home fans.

Warner has expressed his desire to end his red-ball career at the SCG when Australia face Pakistan in next month’s third and final Test of the summer.

But Johnson has demanded to know “why a struggling Test opener gets to nominate his own retirement date” after making just one century in the format in almost four years.

Mitchell Johnson walks onto the field for Australia in 2015.
 Former Test quick Mitchell Johnson (pic) has questioned David Warner’s right to a Test swan song. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS 

“And why a player at the centre of one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket history warrants a hero’s send-off?” the retired champion quick posed in an explosive column in the West Australian newspaper that also reopened the deep wounds of 2018’s sandpaper-gate scandal.

But former world boxing champion Anthony Mundine believes Johnson’s “low act” was uncalled for and wishes the whole saga hadn’t been played out in public.

Mundine says he endured similar treatment from at least one ex-teammate  when he shocked the sporting world in 2000 and walked away from rugby league months after his St George Illawarra side lost the controversial 1999 grand final to Melbourne.

“It’s a low act (from Johnson). Things should be positive. Former teammates, teammates, should stick together. It’s un-Australian,” Mundine told AAP.

“The same thing happened to me. When I retired from football, I went overseas to clear my mind and clear my head and (former Dragons captain) Craig Smith was giving me a bit of a hammering. He didn’t know what I was going through.”

“Why wouldn’t Mitchell speak to him face to face himself first? There would have been a bit of a relationship there based on those five years (of being Australia teammates).

David Warner has endured a tough spell at the top of the order.
 David Warner has endured a tough spell at the top of the order for Australia. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

Mundine is good mates with Warner after the pair developed a friendship several years ago through the late Phillip Hughes, who was fatally struck by a bouncer at the SCG in 2014 when Warner was fielding for NSW against South Australia.

But even disregarding his relationship with Warner, Mundine reckons the 37-year-old deserves to go out on his own terms after averaging 44.43 over 199 Test innings.

“Dave’s got the runs on the board,” he said.

“The proof is in the pudding. It will be a fitting way to end his Test career. He deserves that.

“Mitchell should just own what he’s done and Dave is a good enough man to forgive and move on.

“It’s just another chapter in life.”

While Mundine was happy to get on the front foot over Johnson’s controversial comments, the feuding cricketers’ 2015 World Cup-winning teammate Glenn Maxwell refused to buy into the stoush.

Asked for his thoughts on the controversy as the Melbourne Stars prepared to jet north for their first game of this season’s Big Bash League in Brisbane, Maxwell played a straight bat.

“It’s BBL time, come on, we’re about the Stars,” he said.