England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day August 20, 2015

Warne attacks selectors over Siddle inclusion

Shane Warne - 'There's been so many selection issues this series they've just got wrong. Someone has to be accountable' © Getty Images

Shane Warne has delivered a broadside at Australia's selection chairman Rod Marsh for the decision to recall Peter Siddle ahead of Pat Cummins for the fifth Investec Ashes Test at The Oval.

Siddle was ignored by Marsh and the coach Darren Lehmann for the two previous Tests played on seaming wickets at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, and was known to be particularly upset by his absence from the XI for the pivotal fourth match. However another green-tinged pitch at The Oval moved the selectors to include him in place of Josh Hazlewood, having earlier seemed set to choose the younger Cummins.

The retiring captain Michael Clarke was seen in animated discussion with Marsh before the side was named, and after play began Warne expressed in the strongest possible terms that Siddle should not have played in a dead Test when there was an opportunity to have Cummins gain valuable experience.

"I don't think anyone thought Peter Siddle should have played in this Test match," Warne said on commentary for Channel Nine. " I can understand the conditions where Peter Siddle would have played but to me it looks like it's a selection that should have been for the last Test match and while we got that wrong last Test match, let's play him this Test match.

"I just can't understand why Pat Cummins is not playing in this Test match. Peter Siddle will do a good job - that's irrelevant because he should have played the last Test. For me they've got the selection wrong again and Rod Marsh has to be accountable for that. There's been so many selection issues this series they've just got wrong. Someone has to be accountable.

"They've got Bangladesh coming up which Peter Siddle won't go to and you've got a 23-year old Pat Cummins. What an opportunity to look at him in a Test match here. I just can't understand it. I just could not believe it when the team was announced today."

The Siddle selection is the latest in a series of hotly-debated calls this series, where a heavily- favoured Australian side has fallen well short of expectations. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin dropped out of the team after the first Test, but when the wicketkeeper made himself available again after withdrawing from the Lord's Test for personal reasons he was ignored. It was a move that miffed numerous members of the touring squad.

At Trent Bridge, the selectors delayed informing the team of the XI to take the field until shortly before the toss, and in dropping Mitchell Marsh for his brother Shaun abandoned a long-held commitment to playing five bowlers. Shaun Marsh was out cheaply in both innings and the bowling attack was left unbalanced by the absence of an extra option.

Lehmann has conceded that this was a mistake, and has also suggested that two separate squads should have been chosen for the West Indies and England instead of naming one group for the two tours. However Marsh has defended the work of his panel, saying he could not think of any other cricketers they could have picked for the trip, and that deliberations over the team for the fourth Test were the hardest he had ever experienced.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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