Australian Cricketer Mitchell Johnson has expressed surprise over his ‘interview’ published in the Times of India Sports section on 22 December. Johnson has claimed that he is not in Melbourne and he has never given an interview to the media house.
The concerned article, published by TOI Sports on December 22, claims a personal interview with Johnson and describes his attire and personality in the beginning. The ‘interview’ goes on asking Johnson questions about his sporting career, his post-retirement plans and his views about current Indian pace bowlers. The article even quoted him praising Jaspreet Bumrah.
The TOI Sports article was further shared by the official Twitter handle of ICC, attributing the same quote of praising Bumrah to Johnson. Mitchell Johnson had tweeted that he does not agree with parts of the ‘interview’ and he does not recall ever giving that ‘interview’.
Where has this come from? I don’t recall this. Who wrote this? I do agree with parts of it but I never sat down with anyone from memory https://t.co/mlqSWdFuFS
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) December 23, 2018
India and Australia teams will face each other in a test match in Melbourne on 26 December.
After Mitchell Johnson said that the interview published by Times of India was fake, Times of India issued an official clarification.
— TOI Sports (@toisports) December 24, 2018
Times of India accused Johnson of having ‘faint memory’ and said that the journalist spoke to Johnson during the perth test. TOI has asserted that the “interview” was carried out during several “informal sessions” and that it wasn’t a sit down interview.
While TOI has denied Johnson’s charges, it does seem dubious that an informal chat was passed off as a formal interview by TOI. This practise, though popular among conventional journalists, is debatable.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect Times of India’s official clarification