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Shane Warne urges Australian quicks to adopt ‘bodyline theory’ for Ashes 2017-18

Shane Warne wants Australia to set the tone early in the Ashes 2017-18, with the opening Test to be played at their fortress in The Gabba, Brisbane.

cricket Updated: Nov 22, 2017 14:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ashes 2017-18,Ashes,Shane Warne
The first Test of the Ashes 2017-18 series begins at The Gabba from Thursday.(AP)

Shane Warne has urged Australia’s pace troika of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to adopt the ‘Bodyline theory’ in the first Ashes 2017-18 Test starting November 23 at The Gabba. Asserting that aggression is the key, Warne urged Australia to ‘set the tone for the rest of the series’ in Brisbane.

Warne wrote in his column in The Herald Sun, “Australia can blow this very good England team out of the water at the Gabba with a strategic blast of Bodyline bowling. All the verbals in the lead-up to the first Test have been fun but it’s time to let the battle of bat, ball and tactics begin.”

“For Steve Smith and his terrific pace trio, the opportunity presents to put England on the back foot early and keep them there for the entire series. It’s been 85 years since the very clever English captain Douglas Jardine unleashed quickie Harold Larwood at Bill Woodfull’s unsuspecting Australians and I reckon this Aussie team can similarly catch Joe Root’s Englishmen off-guard,” he said.

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‘England vulnerable in the middle’

Warne, who is of the opinion that England are brittle in the middle-order, wrote, “England is vulnerable in the middle and lower order and this is where the Bodyline theory can work. There is a question mark over Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes with the short ball and there should be no mercy shown to the tail.”

Warne also likened Cummins to former pacer Mitchell Johnson, who ran riot in English ranks last Ashes in Australia.

“The Australians must go after the Poms with aggression – plenty of short stuff – and really set the tone for the rest of the Ashes matches. The Gabba is a scary place for opposition teams and especially for the English, who have not won here since 1986. Intimidation is the key and the man to make this happen is Pat Cummins, just as Mitchell Johnson did four years ago,” Warne expressed.

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In agreement with the selectors

One of the fiercest voices in the commentary box, Warne termed Australia’s selection move of bringing back Tim Paine as a ‘strange’ one.

“I endorse the boldness of Trevor Hohns and his selection panel, although Matt Renshaw was very unlucky to be dropped. I see a lot of potential in him and know he will be back stronger after this axing, but Cameron Bancroft is the man in form and he has demanded his chance. He had to play. Shaun Marsh is a quality player, but he’s had plenty of chances, let’s hope we finally see him perform consistently on the big stage,” Warne said.

“Paine is the hunch call, the roll of the dice and the selectors have opened themselves up to either be geniuses or to cop it.”

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‘England must play out of their skin’

Warne has pointed out two England players to ‘play out of their skin’ for them to win this Ashes. “Root has to have the series of his life with the bat and he will have a few demons from his last visit Down Under when he was dropped and didn’t cope with the pace and bounce of the Aussie pitches. Jimmy Anderson has to make his last Ashes series in Australia the best series he has ever had in an England shirt,” Warne said.

First Published: Nov 22, 2017 14:34 IST