Shane Warne has teed off on an ‘ordinary’ Aussie Test side, saying the team needs a good “kick up the backside”.
Following Australia’s horror Test series against Pakistan, Warne immediately called for change by suggesting seven players should fear for their spots.
The leg-spinning legend certainly didn’t back down on his initial assessment on Monday, when speaking to reporters at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.
“We’ll always support the Aussie side like we do but they need a kick up the backside at the moment because they’re not performing well,” Warne said.
“There’s no one around the country grabbing that opportunity.
“20 or 35, no matter how old they are, if you’re in form and you’re making hundreds, you play.”
The 49-year-old praised Australia’s bowing line-up, saying they are among the best in the world, with Lyon, Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood leading the line.
However Warne’s main concern was around Australia’s inability to score runs, particularly through the middle order.
“There’s three spots up for grabs — three, four and five — and it’s open to anyone,” Warne said.
“To me, I don’t care who it is: Make some runs.”
The Aussie great also touched on Australia’s bizarre decision to select Mitchell Marsh as vice-captain, saying he didn’t think the 27-year-old had even cemented himself a Test spot.
“I love what Shaun and Mitchell Marsh bring, but they need to perform,” Warne said.
“I was surprised when Mitchell Marsh was announced vice-captain.
“I’m a huge fan of Shaun and Mitchell Marsh. Just because they have a couple of bad Test matches there, suddenly you can’t remember all the good stuff that Shaun Marsh has done. Hopefully he gets a bit of an extended chance.
“But Mitchell Marsh needs to go and make some runs.
“If Mitchell Marsh comes out and makes some hundreds, pick him. If Shaun Marsh makes some hundreds, pick him. If they don’t, then pick the guys who are in form.”
Australian cricketers implicated in new spot-fixing claims
Unnamed players from five Australian cricket matches have been implicated a new documentary on spot-fixing by the Al Jazeera television network.
Al Jazeera said it had uncovered evidence of corruption in 15 international cricket matches between 2010 and 2012, including “a small group” of England players in seven matches and Pakistan players in three matches.
It is the second broadcast on the topic aired by the Qatar-based network this year, leaving Australia’s players “sick and tired” of the accusations.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has called on Al Jazeera to cooperate in investigations, having opted against handing over information after the first documentary.
“The ICC is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket,” ICC anti-corruption unit general manager Alex Marshall said in a statement, via ESPN.
“As you would expect we will again take the contents of the programme and any allegations it may make seriously and will investigate fully.
“However, I must refute the assertion that cricket does not take the issue of corruption seriously, we have more resources than ever before working to rid our sport of corruption.
“The investigation into these allegations has already commenced and will run alongside a number of other live unrelated investigations. When considering the claims, we will work with professional independent betting analysts.
“As with the first programme we have, and will continue to ask for the cooperation of the broadcaster.
“We have made repeated efforts to engage with the broadcaster as it can play such a crucial part in the full and thorough investigation it has called for.
“We do welcome the commitment from the broadcaster to share the files with Interpol and, I hope, other law enforcement agencies who can act upon the information and support us in ridding the sport of these criminals.”
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