Shane Watson reacts to David Warner-Mitchell Johnson saga
By SMCS - Dec 7, 2023 10:35 am
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Former Australian player Shane Watson feels David Warner’s decision to decide a date for his Test retirement was unprecedented. Watson also added that while most players want the “perfect send-off”, not many get it because of the team’s needs as well. In June, before the Ashes 2023, Warner had announced that if he made it through the series and stayed in the team for the three-match Test series against Pakistan, he would retire after the final Test at his home ground in Sydney.

David Warner
David Warner

However, at that time, the announcement didn’t create any stir. However, Mitchell Johnson’s latest newspaper column has made it worse. Johnson called Warner “arrogant” and “disrespectful” to Australia, claiming that he didn’t deserve a hero’s exit because he never really owned up to the ball-tampering saga of 2018 as well.

Watson, speaking on the Willow Talk Cricket Podcast called Johnson’s column “interesting” and said: “Dave put a stake in the ground a long way out which hasn’t really been done before … that I can remember for the last 30 years of cricket where someone’s said a year out Sydney’s my place to finish.”

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“Because you never know what’s going to happen, form alone, whether you’re dominating you get that opportunity. … You need to make sure you’re scoring runs. Ricky Ponting would’ve 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,” Watson further added.

Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson

However, Ricky Ponting was dropped from ODIs in 2012 as Australia tried to build on towards the 2015 World Cup as well. Shane Watson was also dropped from the Test team due to poor form after the first Ashes Test in 2015 as well. Johnson later admitted that his attack on Warner was also due to personal spite because of a “bad” message that Warner sent him.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy backed Shane Watson’s opinions, saying even the greatest-ever women’s team captain Meg Lanning didn’t get the big farewell when she announced her retirement on November 8. Lanning had taken an indefinite break from cricket in August 2022 to focus on her health as well.

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“You look at Meg Lanning recently, didn’t really get to choose when she wanted to finish up, there’s obviously other factors at play there but a lot of players don’t get that option. So if I am lucky enough to do it, I think you just wake up one day and go ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’, and you go, ‘See you later,'” Alyssa Healy said. “I wouldn’t want that hanging over my head for 12 months, knowing the end is nigh and I’ve got to make runs to stay in the team, that’d be really uncomfortable.”