Australia legend Shane Warne urges England to recall two players for Ashes

Australia legend Shane Warne is ‘pretty confident’ the Ashes will go ahead and has urged England to recall Zak Crawley and Adil Rashid for this winter’s series.

The first Ashes Test is due to begin on December 8 but some England players are considering pulling out due to Australia’s strict Covid-19 travel protocols.

Bubble fatigue has become a significant problem for international teams, with England withdrawing their men’s and women’s sides from a tour to Pakistan this month on the grounds of player welfare.

Despite the ongoing concerns over the Ashes, Warne is optimistic the series will go ahead ‘as normal’ and has backed the Australian government to ‘satisfy’ the England squad.

‘I’m pretty confident an Ashes series will go ahead,’ Warne told the Daily Mirror. ‘I think the governments, the boards, the players and everyone wants it to go ahead.

‘They’re just trying to work out how they can have their families there and not be away from them for so long because there’s a World Cup before it and an IPL before that as well, so they’ll have been on the road for a long time.

‘I think they’re just trying to work out the best case scenario where they can get their families there and they’ve got this 14-day mandatory quarantine.

‘I was in a 4×3 metre room with no windows for my quarantine and wasn’t allowed outside my door but, from what I’m hearing, these guys have got a resort with a pool and golf course.

‘It sounds like a holiday! I wouldn’t mind doing that quarantine! Hopefully that will satisfy the needs of the players and their families.

‘The country I think, from what I’ve seen, by mid-November will be 80% double-vaccinated and everything will open up.

‘So when England arrive for the Ashes, they’ll be able to move freely between the states and have a bit more freedom, rather than just going from the hotel to the cricket ground.

‘We’ve seen a roadmap for Australia’s vaccination programme and they’re hoping to be at 80% by mid-November. Hopefully that’s the case and the Ashes and everything will go ahead as normal.’

Warne, who took 708 wickets during his Test career, believes England should recall Crawley and Rashid for the Ashes trip.

Kent batter Crawley has played 15 Tests and scored a stunning double century against Pakistan last summer, but was dropped from the side during the recent series against India.

Yorkshire spinner Rashid, meanwhile, made the last of his 19 Test appearances almost three years ago.

‘I think young Zak Crawley has got a good game, he plays the short ball well,’ Warne said. ‘I thought the Indians just bowled really well to him, he just didn’t have the rub of the green.

‘He plays back-foot shots pretty well and he’s made a 200 in Test cricket against a quality Pakistan bowling attack, so I think Zak Crawley could be a real key opening the batting.

‘You’ve just got to make top order runs, if you lose two or three wickets early with the Kookaburra ball then you’re in a bit of trouble.’

Warne added: ‘You need a spinner [in Australia] because once the quicks are done, it’s boiling hot and the wicket’s flat.

‘You need a spinner to dry up an end and try and break a partnership so you can get your quicks back on.

‘I’m looking around and if I was Joe Root, I’d be going to Adil Rashid and saying, “Mate, can you please come for the series?” I don’t think he wants to play Test cricket which is disappointing.’

Australia retained the Ashes after drawing 2-2 with England in 2019.

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