All-rounder Glenn Maxwell has trained with Victoria’s Sheffield Shield squad as he edges closer to a return from a mental health break.
Shane Warne expects a tight Ashes series and thinks the later schedule this year could give Australia an edge.
The Australian leg-spin legend predicts a 3-2 or 4-1 series result, adding that the way the two teams play mean the only draws will happen because of inclement weather.
The World Cup means the Ashes are starting a couple of months later than usual and Warne said that might take the edge of England’s advantage with the Dukes ball and seam bowling.
“Normally, remember, the Ashes start in June,” Warne told AAP.
“They’ve played on the grounds and they’re going to be drier.
“It’s still been a pretty good summer over there, so I don’t think they’ll seam around as much as we probably expect in the English conditions.
“It might help Australia.”
Warne has called for Australia to pick James Pattinson and Matthew Wade in the first Test team and for the tourists to take it up to England with aggressive cricket.
“That’s what we need to bring to the table – some aggression, to the Ashes, and get in England’s face, let them know we’re there to win,” he said.
Warne returned to Melbourne from England this week to launch his new cricket and golf clothing range, SW23, before he flies back on Friday to be part of Sky’s Ashes commentary team.
Warne hopes left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc is left out of the first Test team and freshened up for the second Test at Lords.
“We’re desperate for him to be at his best for Lords – with the slope and the way he bowls, it’s really important he’s there,” Warne said
“He’s had a huge World Cup, bowled unbelievably well and just tapered off at the end.
“In Test matches, he hasn’t been at his best for a while.
“Pattinson, coming back, he is absolutely raring to go.”