The Ashes 2017 gets underway on November 23 with the first Test slated to be held at The Gabba in Brisbane. On Friday, the Australia announced their squad for the first two Ashes Tests, throwing more than a few surprises. Joining the long list of critics, former star spinner Shane Warne has said that Australia are in a state of confusion heading into the series. Warne praised England saying they are "just going along nicely" and "just doing their business". Wicketkeeper Tim Paine was handed a shock recall after a seven-year Test absence and comes into the 13-man squad along with batsmen Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh.
Warne pointed to Paine's inclusion in the squad, saying that they're picking wicketkeepers that aren't even keeping for their state.
"At the moment, where the biggest shift has come over the last few years is they don't fear Australia anymore," Warne told reporters on Friday.
"England no longer fear Australia and haven't for a long time and hence that's why they can beat Australia.
"England, I think at the moment, are just going along nicely. They're just doing their business.
"Australia look confused. They're picking wicketkeepers that aren't even keeping for their state.
"To me, I think England are in a better situation going into that first Test match than what Australia are."
Paine, who was once on the brink of retirement over a serious finger fracture, was preferred to Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill for his first Test match since October 2010.
However, Paine has not kept for Tasmania in their opening three Sheffield Shield games because of the presence of incumbent Test gloveman Wade.
Warne has predicted that the Ashes series will be the hardest-fought and most dramatic since the iconic 2005 campaign, which England famously won in a fifth-Test decider.
The leg-spinning legend said both sides are weak because they rely too much on two players -- Australia on David Warner and Steve Smith and England on Alastair Cook and Joe Root.
"It will get down to how those guys bat," said Warne.
Warne's comments come a day after Stuart MacGill lashed out at the selections.
MacGill, who played 44 Tests for Australia, taking 208 wickets, took to Twitter to make his displeasure known.
"Ashes selections.... made by morons mascarading as mentors. Times up gents," tweeted MacGill.
(With AFP Inputs)