'Had a shocker': Shane Warne's brutal swipe at 'poor' Tim Paine

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Seen here, Tim Paine kisses the Ashes trophy during the series in 2019.
Tim Paine's captaincy and form has come under fire from Aussie Test great Shane Warne. Pic: Getty

Cricket legend Shane Warne has taken a stunning swipe at Tim Paine's captaincy ahead of the Ashes series starting in December, insisting touring sides don't fear coming to Australia anymore.

The Aussies were on Wednesday dealt a major blow with news Victoria opener Will Pucovski ruled out of the Ashes opener as he recovers from a recent concussion.

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Warne says batting is just one area of concern for the Aussies, with the Spin King also taking aim at Paine's captaincy.

"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.

The last Test series the Aussies played in was the chastening 2-1 home defeat to a second-string India side, which included a first loss at the Gabba since 1988 for the hosts.

Warne says the fear factor for sides about touring Australia is simply not there anymore and that England could have plenty to feel confident about before the series gets underway at the Gabba on December 8.

"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. But I just look at the Australian side and there's a lot of gaps," he said.

"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 Starc's nowhere, (Josh) Hazlewood's bowling well.

“Look, you’d say Australia are favourites but given their form in the last few years in Australia … we were beaten by India’s C team last year and we were really poor tactically. I think it’s going to be very, very close, I think it’s going to be a good Ashes series.”

Pictured here, Former Australian spin bowler Shane Warne works as a commentator for Sky Sports.
Aussie Test great Shane Warne says there are plenty of things that England can take confidence in ahead of the Ashes series. Pic: Getty

Perhaps the biggest question mark for Australia centres around who will partner Warner at the top of the order, with Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris among the frontrunners after a purple patch of form with the bat.

"We've got (David) Warner not making a run. Who's he going to open with?" Warne asked.

"(Marnus) Labuschagne and (Steve) Smith at three and four, but who's going to bat (at) five? (Cameron) Green is still a young player that looks pretty good.

"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."

Gun Victoria opener Pucovski was considered by many to be favourite to open for Australia in the first Ashes Test, before effectively being ruled out of contention by his state coach, Chris Rogers.

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The Bushrangers' coach said the best case scenario is for the 23-year-old to be available midway through the five-Test series against England which starts on December 8 in Brisbane.

Rogers consulted Australia's selectors in deciding to rule Pucovski out of Victoria's Shield game against NSW, starting on Friday.

"It's no doubt a setback," Rogers told reporters on Wednesday.

"I'd say now it's unlikely he will play in the first Test.

"He hasn't quite recovered as well as hoped to play in this (Shield) game from the concussion.

"So in discussions with the medical team and the national selectors, it was felt we give him a bit more time before we select him to play for Victoria."

Australian and Victorian hierarchy have taken a long-term view with the precocious talent who played his sole Test last January against India.

Seen here, Aussie batsman Will Pucovski at a training session with the national side.
Aussie batsman Will Pucovski is recovering after suffering his 10th cricket-related concussion. Pic: Getty

"No doubt there's a lot of frustration for him, he wants to be playing," Rogers said.

"He hasn't played for seven months and to walk straight back into the cauldron and have to perform against very good opposition, that is going to be really difficult.

"And that would have been playing on his mind also.

"The decision is to look after him and allow him a bit more time to prepare in the right way rather than rush him into matches that are going to have a lot of intensity and a lot of scrutiny for him.

"Of course he wants to play for Australia for a long time to come.

"There's a strong desire to get him into that Australian side because he's such a talented player and a lot of people recognise it.

"But he hasn't played for seven months so we have got to be mindful of the fact that we want him to, and no doubt he does as well, have a long career.

"So there has got to be some thought around what is in his best interests and how that plays out."

with AAP

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