Warne whittles down his Ashes squad to 15

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    Former spin king Shane Warne has whittled down his ideal squad of players that could help Australia reclaim the Ashes.

    Warne named a Test squad of 18 in February in his four-part manifesto on Australian cricket.

    But now he’s axed Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Ryan Harris to suggest a 15-man short-list.

    Writing in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper the ex-player said his team for the first Ashes test in July would include five or six changes from the team presently playing India.

    Shane Watson, suspended this week after failing to complete team homework, would be “mature enough to return to the fold”, Warne writes.

    He’d open alongside David Warner with Shaun Marsh at number three.

    In-form quick James Pattinson, also suspended, retains a place in Warne’s squad but reserve batsman Khawaja has fallen out of favour.

    Warne told Talk Sport radio in the UK this week while England were absolute favourites Australia could win the Ashes if everything went their way.

    “They can come here and maybe be a surprise package,” he said.

    “If they get their selection right, get the players on the field and stay injury-free … and they (England) lose a couple of their strike players suddenly it gets a little bit interesting.”

    Meanwhile, he’s also argued “old school ways” might prove better at lifting the Australian side than standing down players.

    “To me the punishment doesn’t fit the crime,” he said on his Facebook page.

    “As a leader I always thought if the boys weren’t getting along or we weren’t performing then the best thing to do was to lock everyone into a room with some music, alcohol and everyone have there say to each other…

    “Old school ways can still work well…”

    © AAP 2015

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