Australia news – Johnson received ‘pretty bad’ text from Warner that sparked his column

Australia news – Johnson received ‘pretty bad’ text from Warner that sparked his column

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Mitchell Johnson says he had received a “pretty bad” text message from David Warner earlier in the year which in part prompted his attack on Australia’s Test opener in his column while he called chairman of selectors George Bailey’s response “quite disgusting”.

Bailey was asked to respond to Johnson’s article during a press conference after Australia’s Test squad for the first Test against Pakistan was announced on Sunday and said “I hope he’s okay.”

Warner has not reacted publicly but his manager James Erskine spoke on SEN radio on Monday and said Johnson was entitled to his opinion but thought it was “a bit sad” to see ex-cricketers criticising the current players.

Johnson then spoke on his podcast The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show, hosted by journalist Bharat Sundaresan, on Tuesday and claimed that the foundation of his attack on Warner had come from a text message he had received in April following another article Johnson wrote where he had queried both Warner’s form and Candice Warner’s public defence of her husband’s Test place on a Fox Sports television show The Back Page.

“I got a message from Dave, which was quite personal,” Johnson said. “I tried to ring to try and talk to him about it, which I’ve always been open to. I know I’ve been open to the guys when I finished playing. I said if I’m in the media and writing things or saying things that you don’t like, just come and speak to me.

“It was never a personal thing then until this point. This is probably what drove me to write the article as well, part of it. It was definitely a factor. Some of the stuff that was said in that, I won’t say it. I think that’s up to Dave to say it if he wants to talk about it. There was some stuff in there that was extremely disappointing, what he said, and pretty bad to be honest.”

Former team-mates Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey have fallen out

Former team-mates Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey have fallen outGetty Images

Johnson went on to state that his attack on Bailey had also been sparked in part by an overnight text message he had received from Australia’s chairman of selectors after another article he wrote recently where he queried why Western Australia quick Lance Morris had been withdrawn from a Sheffield Shield game to manage his workloads ahead of the Test summer.

“He had sent me a message after the Lance Morris article that I wrote,” Johnson said. “It was just a little bit condescending. When you receive it at all hours of the morning, it was pretty disappointing.”

Johnson was also furious at Bailey’s response to his article on Sunday, which he interpreted as a reference at his mental health.

“To ask if I’m okay because I’ve had mental health issues is pretty much downplaying my article and putting it on mental health, which is quite disgusting, I think,” Johnson said.

“It’s basically having a dig at someone’s mental health and saying that I must have something going on, a mental health issue has made me say what I have said. That’s not the truth. That’s completely the opposite. I’m actually clear-minded.

“I’m okay. I want to make sure everyone knows that I’m okay and I’m actually in a good headspace.

“I’m not angry, I’m not jealous. I’m just writing a piece that I felt like I needed to write. I probably was set off by getting a message from him at all hours of the morning and not having the respect to make a phone call.

Mitchell Johnson and David Warner played together for six years

Mitchell Johnson and David Warner played together for six yearsGetty Images

“I wouldn’t say I was hurt by the messages. I was disappointed and it was unexpected. It probably just threw me off a bit.

“The thing I struggle with the most is not having those phone calls. I would prefer to have a conversation with those guys face-to-face or over the phone. Preferably face-to-face would be the best way to do it. So to get those messages were to me, very disrespectful.”

Johnson took full ownership of the article even though it was written in conjunction with a ghostwriter from the West Australian. He said his only regret was not withdrawing a line in the piece suggesting “Bunnings would sell out of sandpaper” if fans were asked to bring something to wave for Warner’s farewell.

“It was probably distasteful and something that I think didn’t need to be said,” Johnson said. “Apart from that, it’s all proof read and I sign off on it.

“I did come up with this myself. This was something that popped into my head early in the week that I wanted to speak about. And I actually gave myself a few days to go through it.

“I’m not looking for attention. It’s just my opinion and how I see it.”

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