Australia v India Tests
Warne picks radical Aussie Test XI
Test great turns selector on social media and makes some bold picks for Border-Gavaskar series opener
Sam Ferris Pune
22 February 2017, 07:20 PM AEST
Test great Shane Warne has picked explosive allrounder Glenn Maxwell and uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson in his hypothetical Australia XI for the first Test against India in Pune, starting Thursday.
Australia captain Steve Smith told reporters on Wednesday the tourists will wait until the toss to name their team for the first of four Tests against the world's No.1 Test outfit, but Warne couldn't wait that long to share who he thinks should be wearing the whites at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) February 22, 2017
In Warne's XI, posted on social media, David Warner will open the batting alongside in-form West Australian Shaun Marsh, viewed somewhat as a subcontinental specialist and picked ahead of youngster Matt Renshaw, who made 184 against Pakistan in his last Test innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground last month.
Smith bats at No.3 ahead of Peter Handscomb, the Victorian who has taken to Test cricket like a duck to water and who averages a tick under 100 from his first four Tests.
At No.5, Maxwell makes his return to Test cricket for the first time since October 2014, one spot ahead of seam-bowling allrounder Mitchell Marsh.
"Harsh on Khawaja but Maxwell's all-round skills just give him the nod. It's an aggressive team and that's what you need here in India to win," posted Warne on Instagram, with the 145-Test veteran in Pune on commentary duties with Star Sports for the series opener.
Matthew Wade takes the gloves at No.7, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to share the new ball as part of a three-man seam bowling attack.
Quick Single: Aussies in a spin over first Test pitch
Veteran Nathan Lyon partners youngster Swepson, the leg-spinner who has impressed Smith in his time with the Australian camp and who Warne has been a regular proponent of since his Brisbane Heat debut in BBL|05.
"He bowled pretty impressively in the nets in Dubai," Smith said of the Queensland leggie. "He's come a long way in the last couple of years, his control has improved a lot, he gives the ball a good rip, he's got some nice variations with his seam position, slider and googly.
"He's been quite impressive and he's come along nicely."
While Warne has delivered his XI, Smith says the selection panel need one final look at the pitch on the morning of day one to finalise the starting side.
"We've got a few options," Smith said. "We've obviously got a very big squad here to cover all options.
"At the moment the wicket looks incredibly dry for the day before the Test match.
"It will depend on what combination they (the selectors) want to go with."