AUS v IND 2018

Update: Johnson hits back at Times of India’s fake interview as he issued a detailed response

A massive row has erupted between former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and an Indian online news organisation, following an article published by the latter wherein they claimed to have interviewed the Aussie legend.

Twitter users and sports lovers were spectators to a terse stand-off between Australian cricketer Mitchell Johnson and The Times of India this morning.

An article, published on December 23, had excerpts of the writer’s interview with Johnson on the ongoing Test series between Australia and India and a number of other matters. But hours after it was published, the Aussie issued a statement through Twitter, wherein he denied having any such conversation.

The interview of Johnson, conducted by journalist Sumit Mukherjee, with “Melbourne” in the dateline. Mukherjee is covering India’s tour of Australia for the daily.

The interview, published in a question-and-answer format, has quotes attributed to Johnson on a number of topics, including his opinion on the pace attacks of both Australia and India.

Johnson is quoted as saying that Jasprit Bumrah is “hard to score off and any batsman will think twice before taking him on”.

However, Johnson took to Twitter late on Sunday saying that he was not in Melbourne and also did not recall giving an interview to Mukherjee.

In another tweet, where Johnson quoted the International Cricket Council’s curation of the same interview, the Australian said he does “agree with parts of it but I never sat down with anyone from memory”.

In response to a Twitter user who asked whether the TOI journalist reported a conversation that took place between Johnson and another journalist, Johnson said, “I never had a Q&A with an Indian journalist & I’m not in Melbourne.

Minutes after Johnson’s tweets started kicking up a storm on social media, the ICC took down its curation of the interview and asked Johnson on Twitter whether he would like to issue a clarification.

On Monday, the Times of India then issued a statement on Twitter saying it stood by Mukherjee. Along with the statement, the daily also posted a photo of Mukherjee and Johnson together, claiming it to be proof that the interview took place.

“TOI correspondent Sumit Mukherjee spoke with Mitchell Johnson in the Optus Stadium media centre during the Perth test,” the statement said. “The interview TOI carried was based on parts of that conversation.

“The interview (not a formal sit-down one) was conducted over several short sessions interspersed with Johnson’s commentary stints. TOI stands by the interview and regrets Johnson’s faint memory…Here is a picture of Sumit and Johnson together at one of their small conversation sessions to refresh it.”

Later, The former Aussie fast-bowler has hit back, putting forward a set of facts for the news organisation.

He said a selfie was not “proof an interview took place”.

He said: “I do recall this man lurking around during the test match trying to listen in on conversations I was having with other journalists. So I can only assume his so called Q & A was loosely based on parts of conversation he partially overheard me have with other people”.

He even accused the writer of the article of listening into his conversation with other journalists and picking up excerpts to write an article.

He put forward the following points in front of the news organisation:

  1. A selfie is not proof an interview took place. I have taken thousands of selfies with fans over the years.
  2. There are plenty of articles I have read that I agree with parts of them however this does not mean I had anything to do with them.
  3. The format of the so called interview is Q &A and by your own admission this did not take place.
  4. When you say this interview was based on parts of a conversation that was spread out over the Test match. Which parts? Does that mean the rest is just made up to suit you?
  5. For the record now you have refreshed my “faint memory” I do recall this man lurking around during the Test match trying to listen in on conversations I was having with other journalists. So I can only assume his so called Q & A was loosely based on parts of conversation he partially overheard me have with other people.

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