Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was forced to vacate his commentary role with ABC Radio due to his association with a betting company. The network has an ironclad policy in place that forbids its employees from being linked with such betting agencies.
Johnson was in line to cover Australia's upcoming three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe. Johnson's departure, coupled with Ian Chappell's retirement from commentary, leaves the network with a giant void to fill. The 'Kangaroos' have a jam-packed white-ball cricket schedule which includes the all-important T20 World Cup on home soil.
Opening up about the series of events that led to his departure from the network, Johnson told News Corp:
“I have really enjoyed working with the ABC team over recent seasons and was looking forward to doing it again. There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy that goes with this rule. I don’t understand and you start to wonder about what you can and can’t say if you are calling for them."
The left-arm pacer represented Australia in 73 Tests and 153 ODIs before announcing his retirement in 2015. He is fondly remembered for his exploits in the 2014 Ashes series, where he was adjudged Player of the Series for claiming 37 wickets across the five Tests.
"It’s blown me away a little bit" - Mitchell Johnson on the network's decision to axe him
Following his exit from the ABC network, the former cricketer is reportedly on the radar of Triple M, who hope to rope him in for a commentary stint during the hectic Australian summer. It is to be noted that Johnson's deal with betting agency Bet Nation expires in a couple of months.
Shedding further light on the ABC Network's decision, the former left-arm pacer said:
“It’s blown me away a little bit: do we have to make sure we have to align with the ABC’s moral compass? There’s nothing I can do about it … that’s the rule and I guess I’m not going to work with them.”
Australia will take on Zimbabwe in the first of the three ODIs on August 28 (Sunday). The Aaron Finch-led side are then scheduled to host New Zealand to compete in the Chappell-Hadlee trophy next month.
What do you make of ABC Network's decision to let go of the former cricketer? Let us know what you think.