Aussies in ‘confusion’ ahead of Ashes

1 / 2
Steve Smith will captain Australia in the series starting on Thursday. (Shutterstock)
2 / 2
Updated 18 November 2017
0

Aussies in ‘confusion’ ahead of Ashes

SYDNEY: Spin legend Shane Warne says Australia are in a state of “confusion” heading into the Ashes series, with England primed for a first Gabba Test boilover.
Even amid the massive distraction of the Ben Stokes assault saga, Warne believes it’s the tourists who no longer hold any fears about an unsettled Australian cricket team.
The leg-spin great says Australia are in a shambles with wicketkeeper Tim Paine’s surprise selection pointing to a lack of direction from selectors.
Paine, chosen for his first Test in seven years, and 34-year-old Shaun Marsh, recalled to the Test side for the eighth time, were the controversial selections announced on Friday for next week’s first Test in Brisbane.
Pundits say Australia’s Gabba fortress, where the home side is unbeaten in almost 30 years, is now under threat from an England squad missing their best player: All-rounder Stokes, back at home and under investigation over a nightclub brawl.
“At the moment, the biggest shift that has come over the last few years is they don’t fear Australia anymore,” Warne told reporters on Friday.
“England no longer fear Australia and haven’t for a long time and hence that’s why they can beat Australia.
“England, I think at the moment, are just going along nicely. They’re just doing their business.
“Australia look confused. They’re picking wicketkeepers that aren’t even keeping for their state.
“I think England are in a better situation going into that first Test match than what Australia are.”
Television commentating veteran Bill Lawry agreed with Warne that Australia is missing a Mitchell Johnston-style intimidator, although Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are capable of bowling fast. “I think the big key to this Ashes series is Mitchell Johnson and he’s not playing,” Lawry said.
“If I was an opening batsman I wouldn’t be losing too much sleep about facing the Australian pace attack as far as pace is concerned.
“They’re all good bowlers but they’re not going to frighten you.”
Former Test captain Michael Clarke said the Australian team was unsure about their playing style heading into the five-Test series.
Warne is predicting the Ashes series to be the hardest-fought and most dramatic since the iconic 2005 campaign, which England famously won in a fifth-Test decider.
The leg-spinning great says both sides are weak because they rely too much on two players — Australia on David Warner and Steve Smith and England on Alastair Cook and Joe Root.
“It will get down to how those guys bat,” said Warne.


Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr sign Peru World Cup defender

Updated 21 July 2018
0

Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr sign Peru World Cup defender

  • Christian Ramos has signed a contract until 2022
  • He becomes second Peru star to join a Saudi Pro League team this week

LONDON: Al-Nassr have followed up the headline-grabbing signing of Nordin Amrabat by landing Peru international defender Christian Ramos.
Jose Daniel Carreno’s side finished third last season and they signalled their ambition to challenge the top two by recruiting Amrabat, the Moroccan World Cup winger, from Premier League club Watford this week.
Not content with that, they have recruited another World Cup player by luring Ramos, 29, to the Kingdom.
He played every minute of Peru’s World Cup group games against France, Denmark and Australia and has won 69 caps for his country.
The 6ft central defender has played all over South America during an 11-year career and has now decided the time is right to switch continents and play in the Middle East.
He becomes the second Peruvian to move to the Saudi Pro League this week, following on from Andre Carrillo’s loan move to Al-Hilal.