Shane Warne calls for improvements in domestic cricket
Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne pointed out that the lack of variety in the pitches back in Australia being one of the reasons for Australia's poor show against England in the ongoing Ashes series.
Having defeated England 5-0 in the previous Ashes series at home, Australia failed to cope up with the swinging conditions, this time, losing the third and fourth Tests under three days.
Warne opined that the wickets in Australia are currently all too similar, unlike his playing days where the pitches had unique characteristics.
"We have to look at the conditions we are playing in domestic cricket,” said Warne.
“Every ground we played at in Australia in domestic cricket had a unique characteristic, whether it was a unique seaming, swinging ball in Brisbane or a fast, bouncy track in Perth.
"All the players that were coming up and playing for Australia were used to different conditions. At (the) moment in domestic cricket our wickets are too similar.”
In the third Test at Edgbaston, Australia were bowled out for 136 in the first innings in just 36.4 overs, having failed to deal with the movement James Anderson generated.
It got worse in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge where the visitors were skittled out for just 60 runs in the first innings, with Stuart Broad wreaking havoc in conditions that favored the bowlers.
Warne feels that Australia do very well on flat tracks while their techniques on swinging conditions are often found wanting.
"So when we get on a flat track we are very, very good and tough to beat.
"When we get on anything moving it shows our techniques aren't great.
"And that's why we lost the Ashes, because England were better than us."
Despite Australia’s stunning defeats, Warne has put his faith in Darren Lehmann, saying that it is imperative for the team to learn from the mistakes of this tour.
“Darren Lehmann’s done a wonderful job. I have no problem with Boof at all.
“We’ve just got to make sure we start doing a few things right and make sure we learn from our mistakes that we made in England.
“I think Boof’s (Lehmann) going to be fine. He’ll do a good job.”
However, Warne was critical of the selection panel which, according to him did not make the right decisions in the ongoing Ashes.
Citing the example of Shane Watson and Brad Haddin playing just one Test each, Warne stated that the duo should have been given a longer run to prove their worth.
“Rod Marsh and the selection panel got a lot of things wrong. Selection through this series was poor but I don’t think Rod Marsh should go.
“Shane Watson and Brad Haddin playing one Test match I don’t think was right.
“They either shouldn’t have played the first Test match, or they should have given them at least a couple of Test matches to prove their form.”
After losing the Urn at Trent Bridge, Michael Clarke announced his retirement stating that he will play his last game at The Oval in London.
While stating that it will be really hard to replace him, Warne expressed confidence in Steven Smith’s abilities as a leader.
“It’s going to be very hard to replace Michael Clarke because Michael Clarke was a wonderful captain.
"I think Steve Smith will do a pretty good job.
“I’d like to see him (Smith) bat No. 4 not No. 3 and I think we can find someone else to bat No. 3.”
Warne spared no expense in criticizing John Buchanan, who earlier commented that the ‘baggy green’ culture was under threat during Clarke’s captaincy.
“It’s an absolute joke, really.
"Guys like John Buchanan trying to do cheap shots and say that he’s let (down) the culture of the baggy green. Give us a break, mate.
“I mean that is just a disgraceful comment from someone who had no idea about the game of cricket.”
Warne came out strongly in support of Clarke by saying that one must not lay the blame for everything on the 34-year-old.
“He (Clarke) loves playing cricket for Australia.
"Look at the players that have come underneath Michael Clarke’s captaincy - Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, and David Warner – class players all under his leadership.
“Have a look at what the Australian team has done.
"So we lost a couple of Test matches, stop trying to blame everything else on him.”
Australia will play a three-day tour game against Northamptonshire on Friday, ahead of the fifth and final Test which will get underway on 20th August, at The Oval.
© Cricket World 2015