Mitchell Johnson reveals David Warner text that sparked furious column

Mitchell Johnson has provided new detail on his fractured relationships with David Warner and George Bailey as an explosive start to the summer threatens to boil over.

Johnson stunned the cricket world – and the Aussie playing fraternity – when he targeted the opening batsman and national team selector in a column for The West Australian.

It left many scrambling to understand the fiery former fast bowler’s motivation – but he’s now made it abundantly clear.

Johnson has revealed his relationship with Warner went pear-shaped after a similarly-pointed column in The West Australian in April.

Johnson described Warner’s wife Candice as “weird and cringey” when she attempted to defend his place in the Australian team during a TV appearance, where she said there was no one “better” to replace her husband.

Speaking on The Mitchell Johnson Cricket Show podcast, the 313-Test wicket great has now revealed Warner sent him a text message after that column was published.

“I got a message from Dave, which was quite personal and I tried to ring him to talk to him about it,” Johnson said, as reported by Code Sports’ cricket writer Robert Craddock.

“It was never a personal thing then. Until that point. That is what prompted me to write the article or part of it as well. It’s definitely a factor. Some of the things that he mentioned in that message.

“I won’t say it because that’s up to Dave to say if he wants to talk about it. There was some stuff in there, which was extremely disappointing what he said and pretty bad to be honest. That sort of was a bit of a driver.”

Johnson said a similar situation with Bailey – sparked by a column he wrote about Cricket Australia “forcing” young West Aussie quick Lance Morris to rest from Sheffield Shield games – had also motivated his latest hit piece.

“He’d sent me a message after the Lance Morris article. It was just a bit condescending. Typical George sort of stuff. When you receive at odd hours in the morning, it was disappointing,” Johnson said.

In his column, Johnson questioned Warner’s planned “hero’s send off” this summer as he prepares to farewell Test cricket. He also posed whether Bailey was “too close to some of the players” and if it was influencing his team selections.

“It sort of feels like it ties in. The selectors have talked about picking guys on form,” Johnson said on his podcast, which is co-hosted by Bharat Sunaresan.

“If you look at David’s form, because the article is about him. His form in England wasn’t great. So you sort of go that’s not picking someone on form. I’ve written good articles about David as well. I’ve always said that I’m a very different thinker. I’m not a traditional cricket player. I didn’t play a lot at a young age. I didn’t grow up with it as much as others. I always questioned things and had a different thought process.

“And I probably was set off by receiving a message from him (Bailey) at odd hours in the morning and him not showing the respect to make a phone call. That’s pretty much that.

The thing I struggle with the most is not having those phone calls. I would have preferred to have a conversation with those guys, face-to-face. The best way to do it. To get those messages I felt it was disrespectful.

“And that Lance Morris article was based on my experience as well. I had back stress fractures. I had four of them. I’ve got this position because of my experience. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve copped it from the crowds because I bowled a couple of wides in my career and I came out on top. And I feel like I’m in a position to write what I write because I’ve gone through all of it.”

Bailey publicly responded to Johnson’s criticism by saying: “I hope he’s OK.”

Johnson has now blasted that reply.

“To ask if I’m OK (by George Bailey) because I’ve had mental health issues is pretty much downplaying my article and putting it on mental health, which is quite disgusting,’’ Johnson said.

“I’m fine. I’m not angry. I’m not jealous. I’m just writing a piece that for me I felt like I needed to write.

“It’s basically having a dig at someone’s mental health and saying that I must have something going on, a mental health issue, has made me say what I’ve said. That’s not the truth.

“That’s completely the opposite. I’m actually clear-minded. It sort of tries to downplay the questions that I’ve asked in that article … It seems very childish from George and condescending.’’

Asked if he could see himself making peace with Warner and Bailey, Johnson said: “It’s a hard question to answer at the moment because it’s so fresh. I sort of feel like they’ve made their bed, both those guys, and they’ve made it clear to me where I stand with them.

“I’ll always try my best to treat people the best I can and how I want to be treated. The only thing I might be apologising for is that I made it a bit personal. But I think even that is warranted with the personal messaging. It’s a really difficult one.”

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