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“If Australia play well and he continues to captain the way he does, I think England are going to lose the series”
Former Australia spin king Shane Warne has taken a jab at Alastair Cook just weeks before the start of the Ashes series, stating that the England captain “can be negative, boring, not very imaginative”.
Warne also noted that he is not a fan of Cook’s “style of captaincy” and added that he believes it will be reason behind England’s downfall during the Ashes, which gets underway on November 21 in Brisbane.
“I don’t like that style of captaincy,” Warne said. “If you’re playing against the best sides in the world under pressure, it won’t hold up.”
However, England pace bowler Stuart Broad is sick and tired of all the cheap shots the Australians have taken ever since England beat the baggy greens 3-0 in the last Ashes series.
Coming to the defence of his captain, Broad accused both Warne and Australia head coach Darren Lehmann of trash-talking.
Responding to Broad’s comments, Warne said: “Who have I trash-talked? I was just commenting on what I was seeing, and there were a lot of people who agreed with me on Cook’s negative captaincy.
“If Michael Clarke did the same things, I’d say he was negative, but he’s not. That’s not the way he captains.
“Cook can be negative, boring, not very imaginative – and still win and be pretty happy. But I think he needs to be more imaginative. If Australia play well and he continues to captain the way he does, I think England are going to lose the series.
“He lets the game drift. He waits for the game to come to him. I don’t think he can captain the side like that. For me, Michael Clarke is the best captain in the world at the moment. He just has a lot of imagination. Cook would never have a leg slip, bat-pad and leg gully, like Clarke did for Jonathan Trott in the summer.”
Warne also had a score to settle with former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting over the comments he made about his successor, Michael Clarke.
In his autobiography, At The Close Of Play, Ponting stated that Clarke was not committed to helping Australia during his days as the country’s vice-captain.
“I know he beats himself up mercilessly about being the only Australian captain ever to lose three Ashes,” Warne said. “And I know Ricky made that horrific decision to put England in at Edgbaston in 2005. I don’t want to be mean about Ricky – he’s a good guy and he tried to do the best he could.
“But to bring up the stuff about Pup (Clarke) – maybe there was a bit of jealousy, because Pup was batting so well and Ricky was not making any runs. To me, Michael’s very well respected. The best captains keep stuff in the dressing room. No-one ever finds out about it. That’s what good leaders are about. So to hear all this in a book is pretty ordinary.”
The former Australia leg-spinner also suggested that England should consider moving Joe Root down the batting order to number six in order to allow Michael Carberry to open with Cook.
“I don’t think Root’s an opener because of his technique,” Warne said. “Australia found him out in England and in Australian conditions they’ll find him out more. You can’t get stuck on the crease in Australia because of the pace of the wickets.
“It could be crucifying him if he’s got to face Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson on some fast, bouncy pitches. I think he’s just going to nick off a lot. Besides Lord’s, where he got 180, Australia really did have his number.”
The 44-year-old also believes England are going to regret leaving pace bowler Graham Onions out of the Ashes squad.
Warne finished off by saying that the best way for Australia to deal with flamboyant batsman Kevin Pietersen is to “play on that ego”.
“I would challenge him with spin when he first walks in,” Warne said. “He likes to smash the spinners. I’d play on that ego with some clever fields and see if he wants to take them downtown early.”