Former Test captains Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain have urged England to target the out-of-form Australia captain Tim Paine ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.
Paine has passed 50 runs just twice in his last eight Test match innings, a streak which has also included three scores of less than 15.
Meanwhile, England head into the series without Ben Stokes, who continues his indefinite leave from the sport to focus on his mental well-being, while seam bowlers Jofra Archer and Sam Curran are also missing through injury.
But Butcher and Hussain think that England have a chance of winning the series if they can take advantage of the struggling Paine and opening batter David Warner, who was dropped from the Sunrisers Hyderabad team after struggling for runs during the recent IPL tournament.
‘Australia may have issues racking up the kind of scores that Steve Waugh’s team used to,’ Butcher told the Daily Mail.
‘David Warner is 35 this month, his form has tailed off, and he doesn’t have a nailed-on opening partner. England can also exploit the form of Tim Paine.’
Hussain added: ‘Obviously [Steve] Smith and [Marnus] Labuschagne are world class, but it will be interesting to see where Warner is.
‘[Stuart] Broad will be there to remind him of 2019, when he had success from round the wicket.
‘Then there’s Paine. Historically, Australia have tried to put pressure on England’s captain. I’d like to see a role reversal.’
The series is due to begin in Brisbane on December 8 and finish in Perth on January 18.
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