Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has revealed how the atmosphere in the team went for a toss after Ricky Ponting's retirement under the captaincy of Michael Clarke in his autobiography 'Resilient'. Johnson has also reacted to Clarke calling him a tumor in the team in his autobiography.
"The dynamics definitely changed. It became more groups in the team. It wasn't a team as so. There was different little factions going on and it was very toxic. It (the toxic culture) just built very slowly but everybody could see it, everybody could feel it.
"Nothing was being done at that time, so it wasn't a very enjoyable place to be and you're supposed to be enjoying yourself when you're playing for your country It was a pretty bad experience, bad time, a couple of us didn't want to play. Even some of the young guys coming through could see it a mile away and they didn't enjoy it, they said 'state cricket's so much more fun," Johnson told Fox Sports News.
Johnson and Clarke did not enjoy a good relationship towards the end of their careers. It went downhill after the 'homeworkgate saga' when Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson, and Johnson were sent back to Australia from the tour of India in 2013.
In his recently published autobiography, Clarke had labeled Shane Watson as part of a group which was like a tumor in the team. When Johnson was asked if that was directed towards him, he said, "I didn't feel like I was, and if it is directed at me, I didn't feel like a tumor in the team. As a player I always tried to put the team first, look after the team, that's what I wanted to achieve and playing for Australia you obviously want to give your best as a player and you work extremely hard to do that, to get the best out of yourself.
"You want to help the people coming through and that just wasn't happening at that stage because of those groups that were split so it was very difficult and if I'm a tumor, I'm a tumor whatever. I've passed all that kind of stuff, I got on with my cricket and tried to really enjoy towards the end of my career and that's what I did.”