David Warner gets more support as Mitchell Johnson stoush intensifies

Glenn Maxwell has launched a staunch defence of World Cup-winning teammate David Warner, declaring him an “absolute hero” and pleaded for Australians to “get around” the Test team this summer as divisions emerge in the wake of stinging comments from Mitchell Johnson.

After declaring he would “definitely” be playing for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash opening clash in Brisbane on Thursday night, having arrived home from India late last week after a stunning turn in the World Cup, Maxwell said it was time for celebration of Australia’s achievements.

Former fast bowler Johnson doubled down on his criticism of Warner’s selection for the Pakistan Test series in his podcast, having called out the veteran opener’s hopes for a swan song despite poor red-ball batting returns.

Johnson said he opted to go hard on Warner in his weekend newspaper column after a text exchange between the World Cup-winning teammates that contained some “extremely disappointing” language.

Maxwell, who has won three World Cups with Warner, two 50-over triumphs and one T20 victory, and played with Johnson in the 2015 success, didn’t want to make any “headlines” by getting involved.

But his support for Warner was clear.

“Davey has been an absolute champion of Australian cricket for a long period of time and the selectors were pretty clear on what they thought of it,” he said on Tuesday.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Davey in that first Test and making a lot of runs this summer.”

With the rift opening up debate about relationships between former and current players ahead of the Test summer beginning in Perth, Maxwell said the current team deserved to be celebrated and hoped cricket fans weren’t distracted by the war of words.

“Obviously, there is a lot of chat around it but coming into this first Test I think it’s important we all support our team and celebrate how successful this team has been over the last however long,” he told SEN.

“This two-year period of the World Test Championship, having missed the final of the previous cycle, to then take down India in the biggest game in the Test arena is a special achievement and it would be nice to celebrate them this summer.

“Same goes for the ODI group. We play the West Indies at the back-end of the summer and I’m hoping Australia just gets around both teams who have had extremely successful periods.”

Maxwell hits the Big Bash off a stunning final innings in India, where his record-setting century guided the T20 team to Australia’s only win of a five-match series. He said he was “really excited” about what the Stars might produce.

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