Shane Warne has opened fire in the Ashes war of words by claiming Joe Root will be found wanting if he opens the batting for England in the upcoming series.
The Yorkshire batsman was promoted to open alongside captain Alastair Cook last summer but despite a magnificent 180 at Lords, he struggled against the Australian bowlers, scoring just 118 runs in his last six innings.
And the 22-year-old’s recent form has led Warne to back his former Hampshire team-mate Michael Carberry for the spot at the top of the order.
“If I was choosing the side I’d open the batting with Carberry and put Root down to No.6,” said the former leg-spinner.
“I don’t think his technique is tight enough. He will be found out opening in Australia.”
Root, who is 6/1 to prove the Aussie legend wrong and be England’s top series runscorer, made an instant impact at Test level batting in the middle order.
He scored 424 runs in 11 innings against the likes of India and New Zealand and his efforts earned him a crack at the new ball.
But a return of 339 runs in 10 innings against Australia did not quite match expectations.
While it is difficult to see England ditching the formula which saw them retain the Ashes just three months ago, Warne believes the Hants opener – who outshone Root with a fluent 76 against the Western Australia Chairman’s XI – is the right man for the job.
“If it’s a choice between Carberry opening or Root, Carberry’s better suited in Australian conditions,” Warne added.
The 33-year-old’s aggressive batting impressed at the WACA and if the English selectors plump for the left-hander to lead from the front Down Under, odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes for him to be England’s top series runscorer could be a steal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.