Paine needs to bat higher: Warne
AUSTRALIAN spin king Shane Warne says Australian captain Tim Paine needs to bat higher up the order and his Hobart Hurricanes big-hitting teammate D'Arcy Short should open the batting in Test cricket.
In Hobart yesterday for the signing of his recently released autobiography, Warne didn't hold back in his assessment of the current Australian Test team.
"I've been saying for a while I think it's the worst batting side we've had for a long time," Warne said.
"I've been really concerned about our batting, not just in the Test team but in Shield cricket.
"I've asked many of those involved with Cricket Australia to name our top three batsmen. The response I often get is answered with a lot of hesitation. Normally it'd be an easy answer.
"There are no real standouts and it's a big concern to me at the moment."
Warne's criticism comes after the Australian Test side scored 145 and 164 in its two innings in the second Test against Pakistan last week.
The champion leg spinner, who took 708 wickets over 145 Tests, said one solution to Australia's batting woes could come in the form of hard-hitting Hobart Hurricanes opener D'Arcy Short.
"I thought to myself: 'If I was chairman of selectors and the first Test was in Australia tomorrow, who would I choose?'," he said.
"I came up with D'Arcy Short to open alongside Aaron Finch. Short should be given a chance at Test cricket. I think of the likes of Michael Slater and David Warner and how destructive those guys were at the top.
"I think it's really important we have some attacking options because if our opponents' opening bowlers don't get it right, they'll get whacked."
Warne said one shining light in the current Australian team was the leadership of Tasmanian wicketkeeper and captain Tim Paine.
"I think Paine's a bit of a statesman, he's a bit older and his experience is very good," Warne said.
"At times I've questioned whether Australia should adopt a youth policy and select younger players, so that in three-four years we'll be OK, but I've realised Paine's done a good job, let's keep him."
But the greatest leg-spinner of all time said Paine batted too low and needed to bat higher to give himself, and the team, more opportunity.
"I'd really like to see Paine move himself up and take some responsibility by saying: 'I'm the captain, I can bat, we're not doing the job, so I'm batting at six'," Warne said.
"I think if he wants to be there for a while and captain the side, I'd like to see him put some pressure on the higher spots. You need your best players up the order and he's one of our best batters."
Warne said top-order batsman Shaun Marsh could be under pressure to hold his spot following a string of disappointing performances with the bat.