Australian cricket great Shane Watson has warned David Warner about his retirement plans as the fallout continues from Mitchell Johnson’s extraordinary attack on the opening batsman in a newspaper column.
Watson, 42, urged Warner to realise ‘you never know what’s going to happen’ after the veteran publicly flagged his intention to finish his Test career with a farewell at the SCG in front of family and friends in January against Pakistan.
It was a bold move given his place in the Aussie XI is anything but guaranteed, and that clearly incensed Johnson.
In a scathing newspaper column, Johnson felt Warner ‘didn’t warrant a hero’s sending off’ and questioned why a ‘struggling Test opener’ felt he could nominate his own retirement date.
‘Does this really warrant a swan song, 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 wrote.
Shane Watson has warned David Warner about his retirement plans as the fallout continues from Mitchell Johnson’s extraordinary attack on the opening batsman in a newspaper column
Earlier this year, Warner publicly flagged his intention to finish his Test career with a farewell at the SCG in front of family and friends in January of 2024 against Pakistan
Former Test quick Mitchell Johnson felt Warner ‘doesn’t warrant a hero’s sending off’ following events in Cape Town back in 2018 and questioned why a ‘struggling Test opener’ felt he could nominate his own retirement date
‘It’s been five years and Warner has still never really owned the ball-tampering scandal [in Cape Town].
‘Now the way he is going out is underpinned by more of the same arrogance and disrespect to our country.’
Johnson also noted that little fuss was made for the retirement of bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and that the pair didn’t ‘tell the world months in advance’ when they were going to finish up.
Watson labelled Warner’s comments ‘interesting’, and stressed sporting fairytales don’t apply to all athletes.
‘Dave put a stake in the ground a long way out which hasn’t really been done before that I can remember … where someone’s said a year out, Sydney is my place to finish,’ Watson said on the Willow Talk podcast.
‘Because you never know what’s going to happen, form alone, whether you’re dominating you get that opportunity.
‘Ricky Ponting would have loved the perfect send-off that he wanted as well and most players do, [but] sometimes you get a tap on the shoulder and you get no choice.’
One man that could replace Warner at the top of the order for 2024 and beyond is Cameron Bancroft.
After Johnson called for Warner to be dropped from Australia’s Ashes tour this year, Candice Warner (left) hit back, saying his opinions were irrelevant and ‘don’t have a lot of merit’
Cameron Bancroft is looming as Warner’s likely replacement once the veteran walks away from the Test arena
The opener has been maligned since his role in the sandpaper saga resulted in him being banned from the sport by Cricket Australia, along with Steve Smith and Warner.
However, his form has made him an irresistible case for selection, with Bancroft plundering 1,457 runs over the last two Sheffield Shield seasons with Western Australia.
Watson went onto add that although runs are pivotal, sometimes blending into a team is just as important.
‘In a cricket team environment, it’s not always just the numbers that are the reason why you get picked or you don’t,’ he said.
‘It’s whether you’ve had an opportunity previously and how you went, how you blend in with the playing group….all those different factors come in.
‘It’s subjective, it’s not just the sheer numbers.’