Shane Warne has hit out over Australia’s decision to leave James Pattinson out for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
The Aussies have opted against revealing an XI on the eve of the clash in London, where the tourists' search for a 2-0 lead starts on what is forecast to be a very wet Wednesday.
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However the tourists have named Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc in a 12-man squad, with Pattinson the notable omission as Australia try to keep England guessing.
With a three-day break between the second and third Tests, Aussie selectors were mindful of Pattinson’s workload and long history of injuries.
But Warne was left gobsmacked that Pattinson won’t be playing at Lord’s.
“Shocked to see James Pattinson is not in the squad, he should have been in the playing 11,” Warne tweeted on Tuesday night.
“It’s very dangerous decision to drop someone (not rest as 8 days between tests) after they did well in the opening test!
“There are many reasons why this isn’t a good decision, but the main one is - you never flirt with form.
“Compare a test match with the replacement who did well in a county game mmmm. I hope this doesn’t backfire on the Aussies & the rain stays away ! Same team for me !!!!!”
Have just heard the Aussies 12 man squad for the Lords test match. Shocked to see James Pattinson is not in the squad, he should have been in the playing 11. It’s very dangerous decision to drop someone (not rest as 8 days between tests) after they did well in the opening test !— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 13, 2019
There are many reasons why this isn”t a good decision, but the main one is - you never flirt with form. Compare a test match with the replacement who did well in a county game mmmm. I hope this doesn”t backfire on the Aussies & the rain stays away ! Same team for me !!!!!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) August 13, 2019
Pattinson on ice
Justin Langer and Trevor Hohns gave strong consideration to backing an unchanged team, having been thoroughly impressed by recalled pacemen Pattinson and Peter Siddle in Australia's series-opening win at Edgbaston.
But a three-day break between the second and third Test ensured it didn't happen.
Given the attack will be reshuffled because of workload concerns after the Lord's clash, selectors have put Pattinson on ice for the ensuing match in Leeds.
"It was always going to be one or the other - he misses this Test or the next," Paine told reporters.
"We want to make sure he's cherry ripe for the next three or four years.
"We want to make sure James is absolutely cherry ripe every time he plays."
The case to include Hazlewood, who was on the wrong end of Langer's last-minute "gut feel" decision between him and Siddle in Birmingham, appears to have been too compelling.
But Paine wouldn't confirm whether Hazlewood had been given the nod ahead of Starc as he sought to take a major step towards Australia's first away Ashes triumph since 2001.
No side has come back from 2-0 down to win a Test series since Don Bradman's Australia in the 1936-37 Ashes.
Hazlewood outperformed Starc in the recent tour game against Worcestershire, exercising great control in his best performance since suffering a serious back injury in January.
Paine suggested conditions, both overhead and underfoot, would determine who claimed the final spot in the XI at Lord's.
"We just want to have another quick look at the wicket. We know there's a bit of weather around," Paine said.
"We'll make a call on the conditions and what we think is going to be the best combination.
"But also knowing this is a big series and there's going to be a lot of overs bowled, there's a lot of cricket coming up."