Usman Khawaja slams Johnson for his recent remarks on Warner

By Real11 - Dec 4 2023 167 Views

Usman Khawaja responds to Johnson's remarks on Warner

Usman Khawaja has hit back at Mitchell Johnson’s denunciation of Test teammate David Warning, calling his opening partner a “hero” who has atoned for the infamous Sandpaper gate scandal.

Former speedster Johnson recently said his old teammate Warner did not deserve a farewell in the third test of the summer series against Pakistan. 

The fast bowler said the southpaw had not entirely shouldered responsibility for his involvement in the Sandpaper incident in 2018 that earned him a year ban. He questioned the hero's send off stating  "why a player at the centre of one of the biggest scandals in Australian cricket history warrants a hero's send-off".

Khawaja in reply said he “strongly disagreed” with Johnson’s remarks, adding Warner and ex skipper Steven Smith, who also served a 12 month ban, had paid for their mistakes. 

"Davey Warner and Steve Smith are heroes in my mind," Khawaja said. "They missed a year of cricket through dark times in Australian cricket but they have paid their dues.

"No one is perfect. Mitchell Johnson isn't perfect. I am not perfect. Steve Smith is not perfect. David Warner isn't perfect.

"What they have done for the game and to grow the game far outweighs anything else they have done.

"So for [Johnson] to imply that Dave Warner or anyone else involved in [the] Sandpaper [incident] is not a hero, I strongly disagree with this because I believe they have paid their dues."

Khawaja also said he did not agree with Johnson’s comments that the chairman of selector Geroge Bailey was personally attached with Warner and the other players.

He said Bailey was a “breath of fresh air”. Under Bailey’ chairmanship, the Kangaroos clinched the 2021-22 Ashes and retained it in 2023, and have emerged victorious in the 2021 T20 World Cup, this year’s World Test Championship, and ODI World Cup. 

“I'm not sure you can argue with that. [The criticism] is harsh," Khawaja said.

Khawaja also didn’t shy away from praising the influence of coach Andrew McDonald, although he did respond back to McDonald's recent remarks on SEN that Marnus Labuschagne was an alternative to replace Warner as an opener in the Test side.

"Have you asked Marnus this? I think he would give you a really clear, 'hell no'," Khawaja said. "Marnus has got opening-itis. I am pretty sure Davey Warner hurt his arm and sent Alex Carey out to open. I think that is a long shot."

Khawaja said he had no favourite or priority about who got the show but emphasised the point that it should be a regular opening batter. 

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