Cricket: Mitchell Johnson calls Michael Clarke-led Aussies fractured and 'toxic'

Mitchell Johnson has labelled the Australian cricket environment 'toxic' under Michael Clarke's leadership. Photo / Photosport
Mitchell Johnson has labelled the Australian cricket environment 'toxic' under Michael Clarke's leadership. Photo / Photosport

Retired spearhead Mitchell Johnson has painted a bleak picture of Australia's team culture under Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur, describing it as fractured and "toxic".

Johnson suggested things were so bad that some teammates didn't want to play.

The left-armer was one of four players suspended for not completing a feedback task during Australia's shambolic tour of India in 2013.

Clarke and Arthur both rubber stamped the punishments.

Johnson has opened up about the 'homeworkgate' saga, suggesting cliques had developed after Ricky Ponting handed the captaincy over to Clarke in 2011.

"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," Johnson told Fox Sports News.

"It just built very slowly but everyone could see it, everyone could feel it and 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 noted he wasn't on the best terms with Clarke following the homeworkgate suspension.

"I didn't take it too well," he said.

"I guess the relationship was pretty strained at that point of time within the team ... I definitely felt like an outsider."

Clarke has been a near-constant presence in the headlines over the past fortnight following the release of his biography, which raises concerns about the current power dynamic in Australian cricket and revisits his run-ins with Shane Watson and Simon Katich.

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