It’s not just India’s selection that has come under scrutiny during the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series, with former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne questioning the latest calls made by Tim Paine for the final Test.
Confirming reports that were doing the rounds on Wednesday, Paine said underperforming opener Aaron Finch and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh were dropped for the fourth Test against India in Sydney.
Leg-spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne has been called into the side and will bat at three, said Paine.
Usman Khawaja moved up from number three but it’s the decision to play middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb, seemingly recalled to counter what is expected to be a turning Sydney Cricket Ground wicket, that Warne was not pleased with. Handscomb was dropped after the second Test in Perth.
“Peter Handscomb, they say he’s such a good player of spin? They didn’t take him to the UAE,” Warne said on Fox Cricket. Handscomb was not part of the Test squad that played Pakistan earlier in the year.
“Last week he had a technique that didn’t last in international cricket, now they bring him straight back in because they (India) might play two spinners. India have got some handy quicks as well.”
“I would have liked to see Mitchell Marsh maybe get another game or a Matthew Wade, try Aaron Finch down in the middle but I don’t think Handscomb,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair on him (Handscomb) to keep putting him out there when he’s not quite ready for international cricket.”
Paine had said on the day before the final Test that Handscomb would be considered for his ability to play spin.
“If we think India were to play two spinners Pete could be a really important player for us,” Paine had said.
“We know how good a player of spin he is. That’s one of the discussions we’ll be having today, if we think India will go that way and if they are, are we prepared to bring him back in.
The visitors lead the series 2-1 after winning the opening clash in Adelaide and the third one in Melbourne. Australia claimed victory in Perth.
If India, the world’s top-ranked nation, win or draw in Sydney, they will clinch a first-ever series victory in Australia.