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Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has taken a jab at England captain Alastair Cook by calling him “boring” ahead of the national team’s Test series against Sri Lanka.
Warne noted that Cook has to start demanding his players to step up and support him, especially after they were humiliated during the Ashes series in Australia, where they were whitewashed 5-0.
However, since that disastrous tour, England have made a number of changes to their squad. First of all, Kevin Pietersen has been axed. Secondly, off-spinner Graeme Swann retired and finally, top-order batsman Jonathan Trott is still recovering from a stress-related illness.
With three of their most experienced players having gone, England have drafted in Middlesex opener Sam Robson, pace bowler Chris Jordan and all-rounder Moeen Ali.
“England’s style of play will be a reflection of Cook’s mindset and outlook,” Warne wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “If Cook wants to stay boring and be the same old England by bowling wide of off stump and trying to build up pressure slowly then he has chosen the wrong path.
“It was proved in Australia that it is an approach which does not work and it will be fascinating to see if they have learnt from losing the Ashes 5-0. Test cricket has evolved rapidly and Cook must sense the moment.”
Warne also expressed his disappointment at England’s decision to stick with Matt Prior as their wicketkeeper rather than picking 23-year-old Jos Buttler, who has already made a name for himself in the limited overs format of the game.
The decision to select Prior is also seen as a risky one since he only recently recovered from an Achilles injury.
“When you are restructuring the team why pick Prior and not Jos Buttler? He has just shown how dangerous he is with the bat with a brilliant one-day hundred so stick with him while he is on a roll,” Warne wrote. “Going back to Prior I really believe is a backward step.I hope this is not a teacher’s, or should I say coach’s pet selection,” said Warne in a reference to the fact that Sussex keeper Prior was coached by Moores when the latter was at the south coast county.
“I played for Australia when Adam Gilchrist first came in to the side. He was not a complete keeper then, but he improved and everyone wanted a Gilchrist in their team, and why wouldn’t you, because of his brilliant batting at seven. Well, Buttler could be your man so give him a go.”
Warne added that he had no sympathy for Buttler after he was Mankaded by Sri Lanka spinner Sachithra Senanayake during the fifth ODI at Edgbaston.
“I am only going on what (Sri Lanka’s) Mahela Jayawardene said after the one-day series…He claimed they identified Buttler had been backing up a bit early and then gave him a warning in the next match,” Warne wrote. “I am sorry mate but that means you are out. I have no issue with what Sachithra Senanayake did whatsoever.”