Australia great Shane Warne has accused Andrew Strauss of showing a “lack of respect for Test cricket” following the England captain’s decision to opt out of the tour of Bangladesh.
Warne, speaking at Lord’s here on Monday, said Strauss’s absence for next month’s two-Test series, when England are due to be captained by another opening batsman in Alastair Cook, would store up trouble for his side.
Strauss’s place could be taken by Michael Carberry and after helping the 29-year-old revive his career when captain of Hampshire, leg-spin legend Warne said he would like nothing more than to see his former county colleague give the selectors a huge headache.
“I hope they are not taking Bangladesh too easy because they can be quite strong,” Warne said.
“What if they (Bangladesh) win the first Test? Does Strauss fly out for the second? I hope it’s not the start of a trend. It’s a lack of respect for Test cricket.
“It’s disappointing that the captain of England decides to have a rest from a Test series, I can’t comprehend that. Any time you represent your country it’s special and I cannot understand how you can rest your captain.
“Maybe a one-day game because you play 40 or 50 a year but you only play eight Test matches a year. It’s special.
“He’s got a style of captaincy and a new skipper can’t be Andrew Strauss, he’ll do it his way. So suddenly the players think ‘how are we going to play under Alastair Cook?'”
Strauss’s decision has already provoked debate with many observers wondering why he needs to take a break during the Bangladesh tour given he is also set to miss the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in April and March as he does not play in international cricket’s shortest format.
Carberry, yet to make his Test debut, received a ringing endorsement from his old captain.
“I hope he gets the nod and peels off a couple of hundreds,” Warne said.
“Then what are they going to do? Leave Andrew Strauss out? Michael is a wonderful player and I had a lot to do with him down at Hampshire where I was his captain for a few years. I saw a lot of good qualities and he just got better and better.”
John Terry’s sacking as captain of the England football team, following reports of an affair with the ex-girlfriend of a former team-mate, has once again thrown the spotlight onto sportsmen’s private lives.
Warne, axed as Australia vice-captain in 2000 after an off-the-field scandal, was asked for his views on the Terry controversy on BBC radio prior to arriving at Lord’s for the launch of the Royals 2020 franchise.
“The best thing about a captain is to be honest with your players, understand the players and get the best out of the group,” he said.
Earlier, England fast bowler Stephen Harmison agreed Strauss, who led England in their recent 1-1 series draw away to South Africa, should tour Bangladesh.
“The captain should be there,” the Durham quick told Sky Sports. “He was tired at the end of the South Africa tour but the other factor is he’s England captain. Even if he got there two days before the first Test, the England captain should be there.”