Mitchell Johnson’s controversial column taking aim at David Warner and George Bailey has taken another twist with the former fast bowler now back on the Triple M line-up for their coverage of Australia’s Test against Pakistan in Perth.
On his podcast, The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show, he explained the reasoning for the column and indicated he would be back in the Triple M booth this summer to commentate when the first Test gets underway next Thursday at Optus Stadium.
“I’m all good. I will be doing some commentary for Triple M in the first Test. We’ll see what happens there,” he said.
But when Triple M issued a media release on Tuesday with a list of 18 experts who would be on the air over the summer, Johnson’s name was nowhere to be found.
Warner’s wife Candice is an on-air presenter at Triple M and Johnson had a public stoush with her earlier this year after she defended her husband during an appearance on The Back Page.
Triple M eventually clarified that Johnson would be part of the on-air commentary, a day after issuing the initial line-up.
Meanwhile, Johnson has also been branded ‘un-Australian’ by former NRL star turned boxer Anthony Mundine, who gave the ex-international both barrels via AAP.
“It’s a low act,” said Mundine, who is a friend of Warner. “Things should be positive. Former teammates, teammates, should stick together. It’s un-Australian.
“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).
Johnson has copped a huge backlash as well as plenty of support for airing his views that Warner was not deserving of a retirement farewell tour while Bailey has become too close to the players during his role as chief selector.
The former bowler concedes his relationship with Warner and fellow former teammate Bailey was already damaged but insists that was not solely why he wrote the article.
“People have touched on it, (that) there seems to be a personal side to it, which there is as well,” the 42-year-old said.
“But when I’ve written my articles, I’ve always tried to do it in a way that I can back things up … it is my opinion, it is only an opinion piece.
“This one was a difficult one to do … when I wrote it, I knew it was probably going to get a bit of attention.”
Warner has expressed a desire to finish his red-ball career at home when Australia face Pakistan at the SCG in the third and final Test of this summer’s series.
He and Johnson played together for Australia for more than five years, including in the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash and 2015’s ODI World Cup victory.
Bailey was Johnson’s teammate in Australia’s white-ball sides as well as the 2013-14 Ashes campaign.
Warner has yet to acknowledge Johnson’s scathing criticism but the opener’s manager James Erskine described the 73-Test bowling star “ignorant” and a “backseat driver”.
“If he basically thinks three people did sandpaper-gate, then he should go to the moon for a holiday. I mean, it’s just a joke,” Erskine told SEN on Monday.