Sydney: Australia need to play a spinner in this week`s fourth Ashes Test and should consider utilising all rounder Shane Watson`s ability with the ball to bolster the pace attack, according to former spin-bowling great Shane Warne.
Australia tormented England with a four-pronged pace attack on a lively wicket in Perth last weekend to win the third Test by 267 runs and level the series at 1-1, prompting calls for the same tactics to be used in Melbourne.
"I am sure the Australian selectors will want to stick with the same winning team. Historically, Melbourne Test match has always needed a spinner, as you don`t always pick a team for the first innings," Warne wrote in a blog.
"It`s hard to change a winning team but I think a spinner will play."
Warne took 708 Test wickets before retiring at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes series and Australia have used nine spinners in a vain attempt to replace him since.
On Warne`s recommendation, they ditched the ninth, Xavier Doherty, after a crushing second Ashes Test defeat in Adelaide and plucked a 10th, Michael Beer, from obscurity for the squad for the Perth Test.
Left-armer Beer, who had played just five first class matches, ended up carrying the drinks as 12th man at the WACA but was retained in the squad for the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Test, which starts on Sunday.
Warne thinks consideration should be given to a recall for off spinner Nathan Hauritz, who has taken 63 wickets in 17 Tests and responded to being dropped from the Ashes series with a string of strong performances for New South Wales.
"I think Beer was a horses for courses selection," Warne wrote. "What has impressed me about Hauritz, he`s gone back and taken wickets and made runs."
"As I said before the Test series, I think Hauritz deserves first chance and if he didn`t work out, try the next in line. So I think it still stands that Hauritz deserves a chance for Melbourne and Sydney."
Despite allegations in the British media that Australia had switched the playing strip for the fourth Test to a grassier pitch to suit the seamers, Warne said there was unlikely to be too much life in it.
"It`s a drop-in wicket so there`s not much you can do to (it)," wrote Warne, who comes from Melbourne and knows the MCG well. "It will be flat and hard work for the bowlers after the new ball has lost it`s hardness after that 30-35 over mark."
"It`s warm in Melbourne and staying like this for the next week so there might be a bit more grass on it at the start but I don`t think it`s a conspiracy ..."
Opening batsman Watson had always considered himself to be an all rounder and should be considered as a bowling option to make way for a spinner, Warne added.
"For everyone that`s asking about the four quicks, remember we have Watson to bowl quick as well when conditions suit, so if we play four quicks and Watson we have five seamers."
"Watson didn`t bowl a ball in Perth so I think there is still room for a spinner and four quicks, with Watson being one of those four quicks."