Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc (AFP Photo)

Spin bowling legend Shane Warne has dropped left-arm quick Mitchell Starc and top-order batsman Usman Khawaja from his Ashes XI for the first Test against England at Edgbaston.

The duo of Starc and Khawaja singaled a return to form during Australia’s 2-0 Test series clean sweep of Sri Lanka recently but Warne feels they should be judged on their show during the India series.

“The players’ performances against the worst Sri Lankan team to tour Australia shouldn’t cloud our judgment either. All you can do is beat the opposition in front of you, albeit a very depleted one, and Australia did that comprehensively. But the Test series against India is where the players should be judged,” Warne was quoted as saying by The Chronicle.

Starc copped criticism throughout 2018, taking 31 wickets at an average of 33.35 while Khawaja also struggled managing 209 runs in nine innings before the second Test against Sri Lanka when he scored a century.

Meanwhile, Starc, who is currently undergoing a rehabilitation for a pectoral injury, is targetting the UAE series for his international comeback.

“The UAE is around the 15th of March so if all goes to plan I should be pretty sweet to be available for that one,” Starc told cricket.com.au. “Obviously the boys go to India, hopefully it’s a good tour for them there. I don’t think I’ll be ready for any stage of that. So it’s up to the rehab group and the selectors and see how the rest of this summer goes.”

Australia will be in India for a two T20Is to be followed by a five-match ODI series before they fly to UAE.

Starc returned to form in the second Test at Manuka Oval after going through a lean patch drawing criticism from all quarters. He will be aiming to build on that match-winning performance after switching to limited-overs mode

At the 2015 ICC World Cup, Starc was the player-of-the-tournament and will again be a vital cog in Australia’s title defence in England.

Shane Warne’s Ashes XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marcus Harris / Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood