Mitchell Johnson was dumped from two public speaking jobs by Cricket Australia after his inflammatory column criticising David Warner and chief selector George Bailey.
News Corp reports that Johnson was pulled due to the personal nature of the column before last week’s win over Pakistan, where Warner smashed 164 in the first innings.
“Mitchell is one of Australia’s most celebrated bowlers, but we felt on this occasion it was in everyone’s best interests that he was not the guest speaker at the CA functions,’’ a CA spokesman told News Corp.
News Corp suggested: “It is believed that while CA respects Johnson’s right to have a public opinion, the caustic nature of what he wrote for The West Australian newspaper gave the issue a much harder edge than regular critical commentary from an ex-player.
“There may have also been fears that current Australian players or staff could have taken exception at Johnson being celebrated in such a fashion at official Cricket Australia functions.
“It is understood Johnson and Warner have not spoken since the fallout.”
Warner aimed a pointed “shush” at his critics, including Johnson after reaching his century in Perth.
Johnson had questioned why Warner deserved a farewell Test series, and sledged the opener over the sand paper affair.
He questioned Bailey’s integrity in continuing to select Warner despite a drop in form.
In a podcast a few days after the column appeared in the West Australian newspaper, Johnson said he regretted the references to Sandpapergate but stood by his column overall, something he continued to do during the Test while on air on Triple M.
Bailey responded “I hope he’s OK,” to the column. Johnson said he was “disgusted” that Bailey had taken aim at his mental health.
Meanwhile, Mitch Marsh has finally embraced the Mitch Marsh way, and Australian cricket is reaping the rewards.
Marsh produced quickfire knocks of 90 and 63no to be named man of the match in Australia’s Test series-opening 360-run win over Pakistan in Perth.
The 32-year-old also claimed the crucial scalp of Babar Azam in the first innings to further highlight his all-round value to the team.
Mitch Marsh’s bowling adds to his value to the Test side. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)
Marsh has been a revelation since his four-year Test hiatus was ended during the Ashes in July, and he looms as a key figure over the next two years ahead of the arrival of India and England to Australia.
One key difference in the new-look Marsh is his willingness to embrace his strengths, rather than try to imitate the strengths of others.
Marsh is the first to admit he will never have the temperament of an Usman Khawaja or a Marnus Labuschagne, but one thing he has in spades is power.
It’s that live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword mantra that is serving Marsh so well in all three formats of the game.
“I think he’s just got a really clear process at the moment in whatever format it is,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said.
“He knows how to score runs, and you know he doesn’t really care what it looks like.
“I think in the past you can get caught up in, ‘There’s a template of how you’re meant to play Test cricket or supposed to play Test cricket and you’ve got to have a good forward defence’.
“I think how Travis Head’s gone about it, David Warner his whole career, and now Mitch Marsh shows that it doesn’t really matter how you score them, as long as you’re scoring runs.
“I think Mitch has found a really good game plan, wherever he is in the world.”
Australia have won 15 Tests in a row against Pakistan in Australia, and they’ll be aiming to continue that hot run during the Boxing Day Test.
Nathan Lyon will enter the match brimming with confidence after snaring Test wicket No.500 during the win in Perth.
“He’s a star. He’s so good,” Labuschagne said of Lyon, who joined Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as Australians to have taken 500 Test wickets..
“He’s got a natural ability, very gifted ability of bowling a very good off-spin ball.
“The amount of revs he gets – it’s almost impossible for anyone else to get that amount of revs.
“That skill alone is almost unteachable.
“I’ve played with a lot of off spinners and there’s no one that can get that shape on the ball with that sort of 45 degree angle seam.
“And that’s what makes it so hard when teams come to Australia, because it’s actually the bounce he gets, the steepness.
“It’s just been unbelievable to watch his career.”