Former Australia spinner Shane Warne believes the number of opening batsmen in their Ashes squad suggests the selectors do not know their best XI.
Shane Watson, David Warner, Ed Cowan, Chris Rogers and Phillip Hughes are in the 16-man touring party as Australia attempt to secure their first Test series win on English soil since 2001.
Openers’ Test averages
David Warner 39.46
Shane Watson 35.34
Phillip Hughes 33
Ed Cowan 32.90
Chris Rogers 9.50
“It appears they don’t know their best team,” Warne told BBC Radio 5 live.
“By picking all those openers, it seems they don’t know the right mix.”
The 43-year-old, who was on the winning side in seven Ashes series and took 708 wickets in his Test career, added: “I’ve been frustrated with the selections for the past 12 to 18 months.
“They’ve picked players that have not performed well at first-class level, at international level. There are wonderful young players and good players that have not been selected.”
Warne did back all-rounder Watson, 31, and captain Michael Clarke, 32, to perform well, although the latter is recovering from a back problem, with the first Test at Trent Bridge just over a month away.
He said: “Watson has matured a lot. He’s at the age when batsmen perform their best, they know how to prepare. He’s coming off the IPL [Indian Premier League] and I think he’s hitting the ball better than he has in his life. We’ll see if he can live up to what he can deliver in international cricket.
“For me, Michael Clarke is the most in-form Test batsman.”
Warne was speaking after Australia’s one-day side suffered a humiliating 243-run loss to India after being bowled out for 65 in their final warm-up match before the ICC Champions Trophy starts on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Warne is hopeful that leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed has his Australian citizenship fast-tracked in time to be brought into the Ashes squad. Nathan Lyon is the only specialist slow bowler in the 16.
“I think the whole story of his is a very courageous one,” Warne said of the 31-year-old, who left Pakistan in 2010 and arrived in Australia as a refugee.
“He’s come to Australia for a better life. What he has done is an interesting story”.