Real reason behind Mitchell Johnson’s sacking revealed

Real reason behind Mitchell Johnson’s sacking revealed
  • PublishedDecember 20, 2023

The truth behind Mitchell Johnson being stood down from two speaking engagements has come to light.

News Corp reported on Tuesday that the former left-arm quick for Australia had two guest speaking appearances scheduled for Optus Stadium in Perth as Australia took on Pakistan in the first Test of the summer starting on December 14.

The appearances were cancelled due to Cricket Australia’s view that Johnson, 42, had taken his criticisms of Warner, 37, too far in an explosive column for The West Australian in early December.

Aussie great Mike Hussey reportedly replaced Johnson as the guest speaker at the lunch events.

Veteran journalist Robert Craddock has revealed Cricket Australia ultimately muzzled the West Australian star as a move to nullify any potential blowback from the playing group in support of Warner.

“I believe it was Cricket Australia’s call, however, I do believe it was done to short circuit any chance that the players would blow up about it,” Craddock said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“I didn’t think they would have, I really don’t. I don’t even think they’d have found out about it.

“There’s so much happening in a Test match with speakers coming and going that if Mitchell Johnson comes in a room (the players wouldn’t know).

“The other thing about Johnson is don’t underestimate his smartness and sensibilities, to be able to read the room and say, ‘I stand by what I said, but I got a bit personal and I regret that’.

“Some people call that entertainment. We live in a world in such political correctness.”

Craddock said the appearance of Johnson would have been welcomed in other sports, whereas cricket has a habit of taking “itself a little bit too seriously”.

“Mitchell Johnson of course had a volcanic column criticising David Warner and George Bailey,” he added.

“Had it just been on stats and limited to man versus stats, it would have been fair enough.

“But it became a little bit personal so Cricket Australia thought it was a bad look to then celebrate Johnson by having him as a guest at two functions in Perth.

“Had this been rugby league, the organisers of the functions would have said, ‘How good is this, geez I hope he fires up’, because what I love about that sport is it just survives on bushfires which keep burning and everyone gets the narrative.

“There’s players swapping clubs, there’s a bit of feuding, there’s a bit of drama, but in the end it doesn’t mean too much and it’s all part of the soap opera of sport.

“Cricket, I always feel, falls a little bit short-changed in that regard. It takes itself a little bit too seriously.”

Johnson went after his former squad mate. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt).

Johnson went after his former squad mate. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt).

While Johnson has largely stood by his criticisms of Warner in the days since his newspaper column became the talk of the cricket world, he did express one regret while speaking on his podcast The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show.

The 313-Test wicket great said he regretted bringing up the sandpaper scandal but stood by his other points including that players shouldn’t get to dictate the terms of their retirement.

“There is one thing I wasn’t that happy with,” Johnson said.

“I didn’t notice it at the time. I was reading the article and just sort of went with it. The “Bunnings” and the “sandpaper” part of it. Probably distasteful. That was probably something that didn’t need to be said.

“The reason that (the sandpaper scandal) came up is that I just don’t look at statistics. I look at the whole picture. And I’m not trying to bring up those old things.

“But someone to get a farewell and to be in that position that he was and what they did back then, that didn’t quite sit right with me, that’s why I brought it up.’’


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