Melbourne, December 8

F

ormer Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson's criticism of ex-teammate David Warner's retirement intentions has prompted the veteran opener to respond, stating that his former teammate is entitled to his ideas, no matter how harsh.

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The veteran batter's refusal to throw fuel to the fire comes after Australian captain Pat Cummins stated that the Test team would be "fiercely protective" of the experienced opener in the face of external criticism, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

Warner had stated his intentions to retire from the Test format earlier this year, stating that he would be keen to bring his career in red-ball format to an end at his home ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

But in an editorial published in the West Australian a few days ago, the former speedster Johnson questioned why Warner had the authority to choose his retirement date despite his terrible form with the bat in Tests and accusing him of not owning up to his role in the ball-tampering scandal.

"It wouldn't be a summer without a headline, would it? It is what it is. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions. Moving forward, we're looking forward to a nice Test over in the west," he said at the launch of Fox Cricket's summer coverage as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

In 20 Tests from 2022-23, Warner has scored 936 runs in 36 innings at an average of 26.74, with just one century and four half-centuries. This is in stark contrast with the opener's white-ball form, which has been consistent in the 2020s as well.

Australian selectors have stayed by Warner during the rough patch, which has included two dismissals in the 90s, and are currently deciding his replacement beyond Sydney. In recent days, the playing group has been equally encouraging.

"I think we protect each other a lot. We've been through a lot over the years, our boys. Someone like Davey or Steve [Smith], I've played with them for a dozen years now so we're fiercely protective of each other. Sometimes you've got to remind yourself of the amount of positive support that is out there," Cummins was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Warner has been named in the 14-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan, starting on December 14.

The opener, who wants to conclude his career on a high note, said he learned a long time ago to knuckle down in the face of criticism such as Johnson's.

"My parents ingrained that into me. They taught me every day to fight and work hard. When you go onto the world stage and you don't realise what comes with that, it's a lot of media, a lot of criticism but a lot of positive. I think what's more important is what you see here today, the people coming out to support cricket," he said.

Australia will face Pakistan in a three-match Test series, with the first game starting on December 14.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions: Australia opener David Warner breaks silence on Mitchell Johnson's criticism

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