London, June 25 (ANI): Spin legend Shane Warne insists that England is wrong to line up Monty Panesar to play in the first Test against Australia, starting July 8.
Warne says Adil Rashid should partner Graeme Swann in Cardiff on July 8 instead of Panesar. Panesar has been chosen for England in their warm-up match against Warwickshire next week, a sure short sign that he will play in the Ashes opener.
"I believe Rashid is ready to play Test cricket and he should play in the First Test with Swann. If I was England, I'd be preparing a flat wicket that turns and play two spinners. England has not rushed Rashid - they have let him learn his craft," The Sun quoted Warne, as saying.
"He performed pretty well in the opportunities he had in the World Twenty20, which is really a spinner's game. Everyone says England has the edge in the spin department but I'm not sure that's true.
"Swann and Nathan Hauritz are similar types of bowlers - but the big difference is England could play two spinners in the First Test while there is talk of Australia not even playing one. That's pretty weird for me. I didn't think we'd see the day England could go in against Australia with two spinners while Australia maybe have none," Warne added.
Warne believes Panesar is no better than when he made his Test debut three years ago. "I think Monty is a wonderful bowler - exciting and fantastic for cricket. But he's stayed the same, hasn't improved."
"That really disappoints me. The sign of a good player in Test cricket is one who improves. You say Monty has played 30-odd Tests. But I think he is one of those guys who has played one Test 30 times. And there is a big difference."
He also continued his attack on England No.3 Ravi Bopara, claiming that he is mentally weak and is distracted by sledging. "Bopara has plenty of talent, but lacks the temperament. A couple of times I played against him, he scored no runs and played some ordinary shots. You throw the bait out there and, if someone bites, you know you have got them."
"Australia will really go after him. I just think a bit of gamesmanship or general banter can put him off his game," he said. (ANI)