Usman Khawaja swiftly defended his opening partner, David Warner, on Monday following critical remarks from former Australian great Mitchell Johnson.

David Warner’s retirement plans and home series farewell

Warner’s red-ball average of 26.74 over the past two years and his struggles in the Ashes 2023, where he amassed only 285 runs in 10 innings at an average of 28.50, prompted scrutiny. Despite a challenging run, Warner has given a chance in the recently Australian squad for the three-match home series against Pakistan where he has been anticipated to bid farewell to Test cricket. The series between the two great cricketing nation is set to commence in Perth from Thursday, December 14.

Mitchell Johnson’s critique and ball-Tampering scandal

Johnson strongly reacted to the decision to retain Warner in the Test squad, questioning why his former teammate should receive a “hero’s send-off” considering his recent struggles in Test cricket. In his column, Johnson raised concerns about Warner having control over the timing of his retirement from Tests, given his subpar performance and involvement in the 2018 Sandpaper saga.

Also READ: Mitchell Johnson slams David Warner, questions if he deserves farewell after ball tampering scandal

Defending Warner: Usman Khawaja’s counterargument

In response, Khawaja emphasized the significant contributions of both Warner and Steve Smith to the game, urging that past events should be left behind.

“Davey Warner and Steve Smith are heroes in my mind. They missed a year of cricket… They’ve paid their dues. No-one’s perfect. Mitchell Johnson isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, Steven Smith isn’t perfect, David Warner isn’t perfect,” Khawaja was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

“What they’ve done for the game from a positive point of view… far outweighs anything else they’ve done. So, for (Johnson) to imply that Davey Warner or anyone else involved in the sandpaper (scandal), is not a hero, I strongly disagree with that,” the 36-year-old concluded.

Also READ: Bollywood actress Ananya Panday names the cricketer she would like to DM

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