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Series Editorial

‘Starc’s nowhere, skipper Paine’s a shocker’ – Warne tears into ‘poor’ Australia side in stunning rant ahead of Ashes

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Spin great Shane Warne has delivered a stunning rant on the Australia Test side ahead of the Ashes, heavily criticising the form of their players a month out from the start of the first Test in Brisbane.

Warne, speaking on the Fox Cricket show World Cup Live, said that the Australian side had a ‘lot of gaps’ ahead of the series, singling out players one after another and questioning their status and form. The criticism extended to senior players in the team.

“When you think back to Australia and think back to Ashes series in Australia, England have been very, very poor for a long time when they come to Australia,” Warne said. “But I just look at the Australian side and there’s a lot of gaps”.

“Our fast bowlers – Pat Cummins looks short of a gallop and we know he’s going to come good because he’s world-class. But [Mitchell] Starc’s nowhere,  [Josh] Hazlewood’s bowling well.”

“But apart from that, we’ve got [David] Warner not making a run. Who’s he going to open with? [Marnus] Labuschagne and [Steve] Smith at three and four, but who’s going to bat five? [Cameron] Green is still a young player that looks pretty good. Paine, he’s had a shocker the last couple of years as captain, tactically he’s been very poor, lost the last two series and can’t make a run.”

He went on to say that the Australian team, which has achieved unparalleled success in the past, isn’t the same great force like it used to be, saying that “no one fears Australia anymore”.

“Our side’s not as great, this ‘almighty Australia’. But here’s the big thing: No one fears Australia anymore. Coming to Australia, everyone used to go ‘oh we’re going to have to be at our best to even compete’. Now they just believe they can beat Australia – every side.”

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