London: Australian spin legend Shane Warne has slammed the country`s Ashes squad as `powder-puff` and `squidgy`, saying that the players have gone soft and have not been aggressive enough in the build-up to the Ashes.
Days before the start of this summer`s Ashes series, Warne took his old team to task for their soft approach to playing England so far this summer, and said that fast bowler Mitchell Starc threw away his team`s chance to make a statement in their one-day game against England in Birmingham, the Mirror reports.
The tour could not have started any worse for Australia after their whitewash in the Champions Trophy, a suspension and the sacking of their coach, with Warne saying that the Australians need to express themselves on the field and make a statement.
Stating that the bowlers needed to challenge and make the game look like a contest to the opposing batsmen, Warne further said that his former team had missed a trick is in the Champions Trophy game against England as Starc`s first over was not aggressive enough.
According to Warne, the Australians had a chance to get aggressive and nasty and could have put their marker down in the sand, adding that however, Starc`s ` powder-puff` first over made the game an ordinary start from the Australian side.
Praising England, Warne further said that England is the benchmark in world cricket currently, adding that the Ashes hosts have got variety with a good spin-bowler in Graeme Swann and James Anderson, who can claim to be the best fast bowler in the world, along with South African Dale Steyn.
Warne also said that Stuart Broad could not also be discounted, as he can be a handful during a good day, adding that England has the best attack in the world at the moment.
However, former England captain Mike Gatting has warned England to beware of the touring underdog, saying that teams often do much better than people think they will during the Ashes, adding that it is necessary to have belief in the players.
Gatting, who took his `Can`t bat, can`t bowl and can`t field` team to Australia in 1986 and guided them to a 2-1 series win, compared his then-position to the current position of Australian captain Michael Clarke, saying that the skipper would be looking to learn from England`s 1986 win to achieve success.