Melbourne:Spin legend Shane Warne says Australia should not feel disgraced losing to teams like India and South Africa as they played better cricket in the Test series last year.
"There is no disgrace in losing like in 2005, when England were the best team and deserved to win. It's the same. South Africa deserved to win as they were the best side. India have also had enough of losing to Australia and have drawn a line in the sand. Their approach has been: 'Enough is enough, we want to be the No. 1 side in the world'," Warne said. "I wasn't surprised or shocked," he wrote in his column for the 'Herald Sun'.
Warne said teams like India and South Africa have learnt and improved a lot during Australia's reign at the top while the baggy greens did not usher in new ideas.
"We all have to accept that teams have learned a lot from Australian sides and become better. Plans were put in place and are now starting to pay off. Now it is Australia that needs to have a plan.
"Australia has always been regarded as having the best first-class cricket set-up and has a habit of producing quality players. Well, that structure will now be tested. All aspects of the game must be challenged, issues and roles have to be discussed by Ricky and the selectors, and players identified for the future and encouraged," he said.
The spin great, who retired from international cricket in 2007, had a piece of advice for Australian bowlers whom he described as timid and boring against South Africa.
"After Australia's two losses to South Africa, I reckon our bowlers need to have more imagination and flair. They especially need this when tackling the tail and when the wickets are flat. I have concerns about Australia's ability to take 20 wickets," Warne said.
"The bowlers can't just bowl line and length all day and hope batsmen lose patience, chase one and nick it to the wicketkeeper or slip. They need to be able to bowl a hostile spell, as Merv Hughes and Glenn McGrath did," he said.
He also questioned the Australian approach and attitude of containment instead of being aggressive.
"There is too much emphasis on containment and protecting runs rather than attacking and trying to take wickets. If in doubt, attack every time," he said but made it clear that his criticism was not directed towards any particular bowler.
"Ricky Ponting has a good cricket brain and the bowlers must be prepared to try things, back their instincts and not rely on computer printouts. They must also have another plan, and after that plans C, D, and E when the opposition digs in and the wicket is flat.
"Australia is lucky it has Troy Cooley to help the bowlers because he is good. And with Tim Nielsen as coach, they have someone who can bring a bit of old-school toughness to the group," he added.
Warne said there was no need for chopping and changing players and selectors and said Australia can bounce back to the top again in short time. "Sadly, I read and hear people bagging the Australian team and calling for the heads of players and selectors. Now is a time the team needs support.
"I still believe Australia can stay No. 1 in the rankings with a win in Sydney... There is still lots to gain in Sydney and players need to find some form before the one-day series.
Australia needs to get some momentum back. Sometimes it takes a series loss to work out what is the best style of play for the team, and issues within the group can be addressed.
"Think back to when England won the Ashes in 2005. After that, Australia went on the rampage and beat everyone in its path. There is no reason this can't happen again," he added.