Selectors ignore the protestations of Australia legend Shane Warne to stick with the four men that got the job done against England’s cricket team four years ago
Mitchell Starc has been backed to fire up his left arm thunderbolts to try and blow away the England top order at the Gabba.
New Australia skipper and world No.1 bowler Pat Cummins has already named his side for the opening Ashes clash and Starc has survived despite several prominent pundits calling for his head.
Ashes legend Shane Warne had been calling for Starc, who averaged over 40 per wicket across four Tests against India last season, to be axed for Jhye Richardson, but Cummins has stuck with his New South Wales and Aussie teammate.
“He’s building up nicely,” said Cummins. “We had a really good centre-wicket yesterday, he was fast, he was swinging the ball big.
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“We weren’t surprised but it was great to see. You’ve got some of the best batters in the world, Steve Smith, Marnus who looked like Starcy was a handful. So good signs.
“I haven’t made up my mind but I think Joshy (Hazlewood) and Starcy will open up with me not far behind, although that might change.
The 61-times capped Starc is 31 with 255 Test wickets to his name and it is that experience which may have just given him the edge in selection.
But where the batting is concerned the selectors have gone the other way with Travis Head edging out Usman Khawaja for the number five slot.
Both batters have registered a pair of hundreds in the Sheffield Shield this season, but Head’s potential has won out over Khawaja’s proven pedigree at home.
“It was a tight one,” added Cummins. “The selectors make the call, and both are really good options, in really strong form.
“The experience from Uzzie is great and we are really lucky to have that but Trav has been playing a lot of us in the last couple of years and has churned out runs.”
Alex Carey takes over the gloves from the disgraced Tim Paine as expected and is joined by all rounder Cameron Green in making their Ashes bow.
Australia XI for 1st Ashes Test: Warner, Harris, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Green, Carey (wk), Cummins (c), Starc, Hazlewood, Lyon