Sydney: Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne feels that Tim Paine is no longer a great option behind the stumps for Australia, adding that there are better batting options at No. 7 available for the Aussies in the form of Matthew Wade, Alex Carey and Josh Inglis for the upcoming Ashes starting December 8.

While Paine, who had stepped down from his role as the Australia captain last week due to his involvement in the sexting scandal, has not had a great run with the bat in hand and has been ordinary at times behind the stumps as well that has now put his spot in the playing XI under the microscope, even more so when he is no longer the captain anymore.

Under his captaincy, Australia lost the home Test series to India 2-1, and with the sexting scandal out in the open, several former players, including former wicketkeeper- batter Ian Healy, are questioning the logic behind keeping the 37-year-old in the Playing XI for the Ashes, as his presence could be a “distraction” to the side.

Warne, in his column for the Herald Sun on Monday, said that, “It seemed that maybe his (Paine’s) time was up. His own performances with the gloves and bat weren’t great, we have Matthew Wade, Alex Carey and Josh Inglis as more aggressive and better batting options at number seven. Plus the team wasn’t winning.”

Warne said that Paine’s hold on the specialist No. 7 position was waning much before the sexting scandal came out in the open.

“When you take a close look at his position at number seven in the batting order, and the other candidates to play that role, the other standout wicketkeeper/batsmen around the country and the runs they were making, there was a groundswell of people starting to ask if Tim Paine was in fact the best option for the Test team.

“He had his moments during recent series — especially last summer against India — which left us all questioning his tactical nous and his actual playing role. Bowlers are to blame here too, but the captain has to be held accountable,” added Warne.

Warne felt that Australia’s T20 World Cup hero Matthew Wade, Alex Carey and Josh Inglis were all ideal candidates to take over from Paine, adding that Inglis would be his top choice.

“Inglis gets my vote. He’s got silky smooth hands behind the stumps, he’s a 360 degree player with the bat and coming off three first-class hundreds last season for WA. He’s a great team man who I saw first-hand at the London Spirit this year. He’s 26. Bang, get him in,” added Warne.

(With IANS Inputs)