The Investec Ashes 2015 August 24, 2015

Lehmann rebukes Warne, lauds Siddle

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Ian Chappell gives his view on Australia's selection debates

Australia's coach Darren Lehmann has rebuked Shane Warne for suggesting he was opposed to Peter Siddle's selection for the Oval Test, while also declaring the recalled seamer has a Test future.

Speaking on television commentary in both Australia and England, Warne was highly critical of the decision to choose Siddle ahead of Pat Cummins for the dead fifth InveTest, having previously advocated his inclusion for the Ashes-deciding match at Trent Bridge.

He reinforced his point by saying "the word on the street" was that Lehmann and the captain Michael Clarke had been overruled by the selection chairman Rod Marsh, who wanted Siddle to play.

Siddle finished the match as Australia's best bowler, leaving open the question of why he had not played earlier in the series. But rather than explaining why he had not, Lehmann spent most of his time responding to Warne's critiques, and insisted that his former teammate was not across the selection discussions that had taken place. This is in marked contrast to the previous Ashes tour, when Warne was a near constant presence in the Australian dressing rooms.

Asked initially whether he was unhappy with how the selection debate had been depicted, Lehmann gave a simple "yes", before expanding.

"Peter was in our original squad and the chairman Rodney and I thought it was the best opportunity to give him that chance ahead of Patrick Cummins," Lehmann said. "Someone like Shane Warne always has his opinion because he loves an opinion full stop. And that's fine but he doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes and we'll keep it athat and I'll probably stop there."

Lehmann went somewhat further when interviewed by Sky. "I don't think we were too bad to be honest. I know Warney gives us a lot," he said. He's always going to do that. That's the way Shane Warne is. From our point of view we might have messed up at Trent Bridge a little bit, we admitted that - Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh.

Darren Lehmann says Shane Warne knows less than he thinks Ryan Pierse / © Getty Images

"Shane's entitled to his opinion ... so that's fine. But ... there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes when you are making decisions - we are obviously trying to get it right as best as we can as selection panel. You have to work out what is going to win the game, what is going to get you 20 wickets."

Australia's bowling plans for the series were badly affected by the forced retirement of Ryan Harris before the first Test, a loss that robbed the attack of the requisite experience and control Clarke had enjoyed in the past two series against England. Lehmann said Siddle had not been a part of initial plans, but said that based on his display at the Oval he would remain very much in contention for future assignments.

"Plan A would have had Ryan Harris playing the first Test match for us, and that was plan A - plans can change," Lehmann said. "The guys we had managed to get wickets. We leaked a bit too many runs and they know that, but at Lord's we didn't and here we didn't. We bowled a lot better in these conditions. We didn't play well enough and we got beaten.

"You'd love those type of bowlers all the time, but those other guys have done a really good job for us over the summer, West Indies and a couple of Test matches here. We've got to work out what the right attack is in the right conditions.

"The way Peter Siddle bowled, he was fantastic this game. If he gets it in the right areas he's a quality bowler and his record speaks for itself. So we're really pleased that he bowled the way he did and there's always a future. We're not saying we pick out-and-out fast bowlers all the time. Obviously it may seem that way but we pick the best team to try and win every game."

Australia's next Test assignment is in Bangladesh in October, and Lehmann said the squad for that tour would be finalised during the ODIs against England that follow the Ashes. The limited overs squad departs for Belfast on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with Ireland.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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