Australian opener David Warner has declared it would not be an Australian summer of cricket without a headline after he was heavily criticised by former teammate Mitch Johnson ahead of his final summer of Test cricket.
Warner, who was supported by his wife Candice and his children at the launch of the Fox Sports and Kayo Sports Summer of Cricket in Parramatta on Friday, said he had become used to criticism during his career.
He is set to play in his final red ball series against Pakistan, with a farewell likely to come at the SCG in the third Test should he perform well in the infancy of the series.
The series begins in Perth next Thursday.
“It would not be a summer of cricket without a headline,” Warner said.
“It is what it is. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But moving forward, we are looking to a nice Test over in the west.”
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Warner, who featured on a panel alongside opening partner Usman Khawaja and Australian captain Pat Cummins, said his background had steeled him to cope with difficult moments.
“I resonate with where I grew up. For me, it was a great upbringing with my parents, but it taught me everyday … to work hard. My parents ingrained that into me,” he said.
“When you get on to the world stage, you don’t realise what goes with that.there is a lot of media. A lot of criticism.
“But there are also a lot of positives. And i think what is more important is what you see today, people coming out here to support cricket, Australian cricket and cricket in general. It is fantastic.”
Earlier Cummins said the current Test team had rallied around Warner after former teammate Mitchell Johnson issued a stinging critique of the veteran opener.
Cummins, who was called “gutless” by the former Test quick in a column last year, said he disagreed with Johnson’s assessment but defended his right to voice an opinion.
He touched on previous challenging periods including the infamous “sandpapergate” scandal in South Africa when saying the Australian team was able to cope with criticism.
“I think we protect each other a lot. We have been through a lot over the years,” he said.
“Our boys, I’ve played alongside someone like Davey or Steve (Smith) for a dozen years now. (We are) fiercely protective of each other.”
Cummins, who was speaking at the launch of the Fox Sports and Kayo Sports launch, said the critique came at a strange time given the recent success experienced by the Australian team.
“I think sometimes you have to remind yourself of the amount of positive support that is out there,” Cummins said.
“We have played with hundreds and hundreds of people over our careers and for the most part everyone is fantastic.
“It is hard to say (what Mitch’s motivation is). You have to ask Mitch. But there are so many things we should be celebrating about Australian cricket at the moment.
“Our men’s and women’s teams have had arguably our most successful seasons ever. We are going into a really exciting summer.
“There are so many exciting things about Australian cricket at the moment and I think we should be focusing and talking about that.”
Cummins also defended Australian selector George Bailey, whose courage was questioned by Johnson in his column for The West Australian.
Johnson argued Bailey was too close to the players, citing his decision to step aside from a decision on the career of former Test captain Tim Paine in 2021 when he was involved in an off-field scandal.
“I think it has been brilliant. George has been fantastic. That makes my job really easy,” Cummins said.
“I remember a couple of old coaches of mine saying the playing XI will always look after itself. It is the guys on the fringes who are always the hardest to manage because they have obvious disappointments.
“Running the way George has managed that over the years, it’s been brilliant. I have never seen a selector be as hands on and as impressive as George has been.”