Warne: Six Test spots are up for grabs


Former Australia spinner Shane Warne feels that the Test side is an open team sheet, and that there are at least six places that are up for grabs in the coming weeks.

Warne feels that only half the players in the side have cemented their spots, guys like Steve Smith and David Warner, but that the second opener slot, with wicketkeeper, and even bowlers could still impress.

With the Test side undergoing a massive change after the Ashes, with five senior players retiring, Warne says that no-one has yet had a chance to fully solidify their place, and will need to do so against New Zealand.

Warne told cricket.com.au: "I don't think I've ever seen an Australian team more open for selection for spots than right now, or not in a long, long time.

"There's probably five or six players who have cemented their spot in the side but I still think there's five or six guys who could come in depending on early season form.

"I can't remember coming into a Test match in Brisbane and thinking there's only half a dozen guys are going to play, for a long, long time, probably 30 years."

Of the 'keepers, Warne put his name behind Matthew Wade rather than Peter Nevill. Wade is the ODI keeper, but Warne feels that while Nevill did a decent job after Brad Haddin's retirement, Wade is a better batsman.

Warne added: "I think Nevill did a wonderful job (in the Ashes). Nice, tidy, didn't make too many mistakes and started off wonderfully well.

"I just think of what we've had over the last couple of years… everyone wants an Adam Gilchrist.

"So to me, someone like a Matthew Wade, he's a proven performer, has got Test hundreds, and gets it in a dramatic way.

"If he's keeping really well at the start of the season then I'd probably go Matthew Wade. I'd give him another chance back in there."  

One other issue on everyone's lips is the pink ball to be used in the third Test in Adelaide. It will be the first day-night Test, and Warne feels that the ball is a vital part in seeing if the new format variation can become a long-term reality.

He added: "If people start saying 'the ball's doing too much'… I don't mind the ball doing a lot, because that means there's a contest between bat and ball.

"I just don't want the last session to dictate the course of a game under lights where the ball apparently does a lot more.

"If we get the ball right I'm all for it.  As long it doesn't come down to whoever handles that ball under lights in the last session the best wins the Test match.

"Test cricket is a wonderful form of the game and (day-night Test cricket) is worth a try. Bravo to New Zealand and Australia to try it, so hopefully the players are excited.

"I'm sure some are players are like, 'We're playing with a pink ball for our careers here'. But it's good for them and who knows, it could be one-all heading into the last Test match, or somebody could be one-nil up and that could be a decider.

"I think it's going to be a ripping Test match, that one."