Despite an emphatic victory at Headingley, Shane Warne says he would want to see a couple of changes in the England side that defeated India going into the fourth Test at the Oval next week. Mark Wood and Zak Crawley are the ones the Australian legend wished to see returning to the England eleven in place of the Sam Curran and an opener.
While Sam Curran has clearly struggled to take wickets in the series so far, and failed to make an impact with the bat as he did in the 2018 series, both the English openers – Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed – recorded half-centuries.
Sam Curran bits-and-pieces for Test cricket: Shane Warne
Wood missed the third Test due to a shoulder injury while Crawley was dropped after the first Test following his poor form this year.
Shane Warne reckons a spinner – perhaps Jack Leach or Matt Parkinson, none of whom have featured in this summer so far – could also come in for Curran if the conditions assist spin at the Oval. He said that the left-arm allrounder is a ‘bits-and-pieces’ cricketer in the longest form of the game. Since the start of last year, Curran averages 47.53 with the ball, and hasn’t taken more than two wickets in any of his last 18 innings.
“I don’t think Curran plays [in the next Test]. As the fourth seamer batting at No 8, he hasn’t scored a hundred or taken a five-for, I don’t see what he is in the team for. He is a good cricketer but a bit “bits-and-pieces” for Test cricket. I would like to see something more specific, whether that’s Wood or a spinner, if it is going to turn. Maybe a Leach or a Parkinson,” Shane Warne told Sky Sports.
The legendary spinner praised Dawid Malan for his brilliant fifty in Leeds while returning to the side after three years.
‘[Dawid] Malan is an experienced player with talent but more importantly a hunger. He said he never gave up hope and still had a passion for Test cricket and I thought he went out there and did a great job.
‘The side just looks better with Malan at No 3, although I would have Zak Crawley opening the batting as I think he is a talented player with a lot to offer. Him opening and Malan at No 3 and that batting line-up suddenly looks very good.’
England may miss Jos Buttler for the remaining two Tests as the wicketkeeper and his wife are expecting their child early next month. India will have questions over the form of Ajinkya Rahane, and whether they can include Ravichandran Ashwin for the fourth Test.