Test legend Matthew Hayden says opener David Warner should not be included in Australia’s squad for the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba.
Speaking exclusively to 7 News, Hayden has called for Shane Watson to move back to the opening role alongside Ed Cowan to make room for a four-man pace attack.
Warner has had a hit-and-miss start to his Test career, registering 590 runs from nine Tests at an average of just over 42.
He burst onto the scene last summer with memorable centuries against New Zealand and India, but Hayden prefers Cowan’s steady-as-she-goes approach to Warner’s unpredictability.
"(Cowan) can craft an innings out, it gives stability at the top," Hayden said.
Cowan, himself an international rookie with just seven Tests to his name, saw his average dip below 30 in April’s series against the West Indies.
But Hayden says the 30-year-old has what it takes to face-up against South Africa’s brilliant fast-bowling quartet of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
"And when the man in the mirror comes up and you’re looking at yourself thinking 'yeah, I’ve got to be able to handle this' that’s something that Ed will confront. But I think he will confront it well," Hayden said.
Hayden wants Australia to "fight fire with fire" and unleash a four-man pace attack of their own to counter South Africa's brilliant quicks.
The 40-year-old says Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Starc must play, leaving James Pattinson and Pat Cummins to fight it out for the fourth fast-bowling spot.
Australia will announce their squad for the first Test on Monday.