MELBOURNE (Reuters) - David Warner has shrugged off Mitchell Johnson's withering criticism of his selection in Australia's test squad as a "headline" for the home summer, saying his former team mate is entitled to his opinion.
In an incendiary column Johnson questioned Warner's place in the side for the Pakistan series, citing his waning output in test cricket in recent years.
Johnson also said Warner had not taken full responsibility for the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering scandal and questioned whether he should be given a "hero's send-off" in the third test in Sydney, which the lefthander has nominated as his last.
"It would not be a summer of cricket without a headline," Warner said at a broadcaster event in Sydney on Friday.
"Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But moving forward, we are looking to a nice test over in the west."
Johnson's comments triggered a fierce reaction in Australian media, with some pundits condemning the former test quick.
He later revealed his column in the West Australian newspaper was motivated in part by a personal spat with Warner and expressed regret for some of the content.
Team mates Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell threw their support behind Warner this week, and captain Pat Cummins said the squad had rallied around the batsman.
"I think we protect each other a lot. We have been through a lot over the years," Cummins told reporters at the event.
"I’ve played alongside someone like Davey or Steve (Smith) for a dozen years now.
"(We are) fiercely protective of each other.
"It is hard to say (what Johnson's motivation is). You have to ask Mitch. But there are so many things we should be celebrating about Australian cricket at the moment."
Cummins also defended selector George Bailey, who Johnson said was too close to Warner and the players in general.
"George has been fantastic," said Cummins, who led Australia to a record-extending sixth one-day World Cup title in India three weeks ago.
"I have never seen a selector be as hands-on and as impressive as George has been."
Australia play the first of three tests against Pakistan in Perth from Dec. 14.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)