‘Australia are worried’: Warne

Mitch Marsh will return to the Shield arena after being dumped from the Test side. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Mitch Marsh will return to the Shield arena after being dumped from the Test side. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

SHANE Warne has questioned the reasons behind Australia's decision to drop Mitch Marsh for the first Test against India, starting Thursday in Adelaide.

The team's vice-captain was tapped on the shoulder on Wednesday and will make way for Victoria's Peter Handscomb who last played for Australia during the tour of South Africa.

After captain Tim Paine made the team announcement, former spin king Warne said he was surprised by Marsh's axing, and speculated on how the decision was made.

"I was little surprised by that selection … it's not what I thought they'd do," Warne said.

"Obviously Handscomb plays spin pretty well, but having seen the touring spinners here over the last 15 years, there hasn't been one spinner that's really done well.

"So I don't think spin bowling is a big threat, but it seems to me that Australia are worried about the spinning options of India, deciding to go with Handscomb who's such a good player of spin."

India's strike spinner for the first Test will be 32-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin. He's played six Tests in Australia, taking 21 wickets at 54.71 and best figures of 4-105.

Warne further questioned Marsh's dropping, saying the Australian attack will now lack an important element without an all-rounder, as well as an extra bowling option in sweltering conditions.

Marsh's bowling could be missed.
Marsh's bowling could be missed.

"I thought on this sort of wicket here in Adelaide, the extra bowling options would have been important for that variety in your attack," Warne said.

"I would have liked to have actually seen Tim Paine bat at No.6 and Mitch Marsh at No.7 to give him a bit more freedom down the order and also that all-rounding option."

Nonetheless, Warne is eager to see what Handscomb has to offer after remodelling his batting technique following a string of poor performances in last season's Ashes and in South Africa.

"The way he was playing before hand - which was when he got dropped - was very one dimensional, so I'm interested to see how it's evolved and hopefully it's successful here," he said.