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‘David Warner has paid his dues’: Usman Khawaja disagrees with Mitchell Johnson’s view | Cricket News

Usman Khawaja has defended his opening partner David Warner following former team mate Mitchell Johnson questioning his place in the Test squad and him not taking full responsibility for the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

The 37-year-old has been named in a 14-man squad for the series-opener against Pakistan. Johnson wrote in his column for the West Australian newspaper has said that the veteran opener did not deserve his place in the side based on form, or warrant a “hero’s send-off” because he had “never really owned” his part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

“Warner and Smith are heroes in my mind,” Khawaja told reporters on Monday.

“They missed a year of cricket through dark times. No one’s perfect. Mitchell Johnson’s not perfect.

“What they have done for the game – how they have grown the game – far outweighs anything else they have done.

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“To say Dave Warner or anyone else involved in sandpaper (gate) is not a hero … I strongly disagree because they have paid their dues. A year out of cricket is a long time.”

Warner’s recent test form has been mixed and he has averaged 28 in test matches since the summer of 2019 when he made a triple century against Pakistan at Adelaide. He has made clear his wish to end his Baggy Green career at Sydney while continuing to play for Australia in white ball cricket.

Meanwhile, Warner’s manager James Erskine has brushed off any concerns about the opener’s form heading into the final three Tests of his international career.

“If there was somebody sitting on the sidelines who was an absolute automatic to come in, bring ’em on,” Erskine told SEN Sportsday.

“David would say, ‘Be my guest, I’ll give you batting tips’, but the fact of the matter is, there isn’t.

“I’m guessing but I won’t be far out, I think between Marcus Harris, Renshaw and Bancroft, they’ve probably got a total of 1500 runs between them.

“My black Labrador could work out who are the contenders to basically take the spot… collectively they have averages in the mid-20s.

“David Warner has played 109 Test matches and has an average of 44.4, (he has) over 8500 Test runs.

“If anyone listening thought that David Warner wanted to play Test cricket for Australia if he didn’t think he was up for it, they’re wrong… he doesn’t want a swansong, he thinks he’s the best for the job.

“If he goes and gets two ducks in the first two Tests then they’ll drop him, but he won’t.”

Warner is set to open the batting for Australia’s first Test against Pakistan in Perth starting on December 14th.

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