AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke has warned England they may have erred by axing Nick Compton for the Ashes.
The hosts acted ruthlessly by dropping Compton for the first Investec Test, a call apparently based on two stuttering performances against New Zealand.
Joe Root will open when the series starts at Trent Bridge today, with Jonny Bairstow slotting into the middle order, a decision that left Compton to claim he had “not been given a fair crack of the whip” after nine appearances.
He played in both of Australia’s pre-Test warm-ups, first for his county side, Somerset, and then on a one-off basis for Worcestershire, scoring 220 runs at 55 but he was still not reprieved – a decision which left Clarke surprised. “We haven’t bowled to Joe yet, but we didn’t manage to get Nick out that easily, so I’m happy he’s not playing, to be honest,” said Clarke. “I think Nick showed over the last couple of four-day matches that he’s got a lot of class; he’s got a very good defence and I’m surprised he’s not in the first Test team for England.”
Australia may find their own chosen XI raises eyebrows if they opt to let David Warner loose in the middle order.
Less than a month ago Warner was fined £7,000 and banned up until the start of the Ashes having punched Root in a Birmingham bar hours after England’s 48-run win in the Champions Trophy. At the time his whole tour seemed in doubt, with most observers deeming the first Test a near impossibility given a lack of match practice.
But the arrival of Darren Lehmann as coach has seen a sea change and noises from within the camp are that Warner would be welcomed in the first XI. Clarke, no longer a selector since stepping down, backed Warner but gave no hints as to how Australia would line up.
“Obviously he hasn’t played any four-day cricket, but if David is selected I’m confident he’ll have success. I’m as convinced as I can be,” he said.