mitchell starc
Mitchell Starc (AFP Photo)

If Ashes were to begin from tomorrow, Mitchell Starc would not find a spot in Shane Warne‘s playing XI for Australia.

Starc has come under fire from former Australia cricketers for his form over the past year. Even though he has taken 13 wickets in four Tests against India in the ongoing series, his average is 34.53.

“I think he is still the best bowler if he is fit and bowling well, but I don’t think he has bowled well for a long period of time. The stats back that up against the top six batsmen he is averaging around 50,” Warne was quoted as saying by foxsports.com.au on Monday.

Warne has replaced Starc with James Pattinson whose last Test came against New Zealand in February 2016. “Pattinson in English conditions will bowl well. His variety will make him a very handy bowler in English conditions with the duke ball,” he said.

He has also included duo of David Warner and Steve Smith who will be eligible to play international cricket once their ball-tampering bans end in March.

Warner slots in at the opening slot alongside Marcus Harris who has impressed in the India Test series. Khawaja, who opened in the fourth and final Test, drops down to his usual No.3 spot followed by Smith at no. 4.

Interestingly, he has persisted with Shaun Marsh who has managed 183 runs at 26.14 in seven innings of the India series. “There is two Tests to go against Sri Lanka and maybe an innings today, so that spot could be filled with a young player like Will Pucovski from Victoria or Glenn Maxwell or Travis Head. Peter Handscomb won’t be there. I’ve stuck with Shaun Marsh because I think he’s got the class with six Test hundreds and you are going to need experience against a quality England attack,” Warne explained his choice.

Shane Warne’s Ashes XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.