Brisbane: Former Australia pacer Ryan Harris has backed left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc to do well in the Ashes despite criticism from former leg-spinner Shane Warne. He feels that Starc should be in the first Ashes Test at The Gabba in Brisbane because he provides the left-arm variation as well.

Warne has been leading calls for Starc to be replaced by Jhye Richardson for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, pointing to his fluctuating colours for Australia. In the Border Gavaskar Trophy this year, Starc picked only 11 wickets at an average of 40.72 and conceded 60 runs in the final of the Men’s T20 World Cup against New Zealand.

“I don’t know what Starcy (Starc) has done to Warnie (Warne). I’m backing him in. I thought he bowled okay at the World Cup. He did what he needed to do, he did his job. But the thing for me is if Mitchell Starc is swinging the ball, albeit a white one, it’s a good sign, and he did that in just about every game in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Harris told SEN SA Breakfast show.

“I’m keeping him in he adds a bit of variation as well. Don’t get me wrong, Jhye Richardson is bowling very well, we had a game against Queensland two weeks ago and the boys said he bowled very quick and swung the ball nicely. He’s in good form as well, but I like Mitchell Starc for that variation of the left arm,” added Harris, who picked 113 wickets in 27 Tests.

Harris proceeded to slam Warne for his criticism of Starc and thinks his ability to swing the ball in possibly overcast conditions in Brisbane will come handy for the first Test.

“I don’t think he’s far away, if Mitchell Starc is swinging the ball, it means he’s getting a good position with his wrist, and that generally allows you to put the ball consistently in the right spot. So, I’d be backing him for the first Test, especially at the Gabba, he loves it there.

“But again, I don’t know what he’s done to Warnie. I’m a bit disappointed in that (criticism by Warne of Starc). I’m not a big fan of coming out and slaying in the media. I hope that Warnie had a phone call to Starc and explained what he’s talking about.”