Australian great and chief tormentor of England batsmen throughout his career, Shane Warne says Ryan Harris should be in the XI for the first Ashes Test at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
Warne, who took an amazing 195 Test wickets at an average of 23.25 with best figures of 8-71 against the old enemy, believes a fit Harris should take the place of Josh Hazlewood in the Australian side.
Warne, who was a guest at a golf day at Sandhurst in Melbourne, praised Harris as one of Australia’s greats.
“Ryan Harris will definitely come in,” Warne said.
“Hazlewood has bowled beautifully and is a perfect new-ball bowler for English conditions but, for me, Ryan Harris is one of the greatest fast bowlers Australia have had.
“(England have) got a few budgies against Mitchell Johnson and (Mitchell) Starc is probably the best fast bowler in the world, so Hazlewood might be unlucky to miss out.”
After heaping praise on Australia’s bowling stocks, Warne turned like one of his leg-breaks and rounded on the England team, most notably skipper Alastair Cook and part-time spinner Moeen Ali.
“It’s an opportunity for Australia to expose Alastair Cook’s deficiencies in his captaincy,” Warne said.
“If Michael Clarke can put the foot on the throat and target Cook early, it will be nice to see that disparity between the captains.
“I’m not sure what Moeen Ali’s role is either.
“He hasn’t done that well so far. He is a batsman who bowls a bit of part time (offspin).”
Warne also launched a grenade at England for failing to select his good mate Kevin Pietersen, who famously fell out with both selector Andrew Strauss and captain Cook.
In his explosive book, Pietersen wrote of Cook: “Cooky hates conflict. He’s another Mr. Nice Guy – like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.”
Warne labelled the decision to cast Pietersen aside as disappointing.
“If you look at the England team and put Kevin Pietersen there, it looks a better team straight away,” Warne said.
“But I can’t see him getting back in unless they get absolutely thrashed in the first two Tests and nobody is getting any runs.
“I hope he is part of the Ashes series. He is one of the most-destructive players to play the game during my time.”