Sydney: Australia great Shane Warne has told England captain Alastair Cook to expect more defeats if he sticks with the "boring" approach he adopted during the 5-0 Ashes defeat in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
A much-changed England face Sri Lanka in the first of two Tests at Lord's on Thursday — their first Test series since they were whitewashed in Australia and the first since star batsman Kevin Pietersen, a friend of Warne, was dramatically axed from the side.
Warne, widely regarded as cricket's greatest leg-spinner and one of the shrewdest tacticians of his generation, said it was vital Cook stamped his authority on the England team, now being coached again by Peter Moores after Andy Flower stepped down following the Ashes debacle.
"England's style of play will be a reflection of Cook's mindset and outlook," wrote Warne in his Wednesday column for Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"If Cook wants to stay boring and be the same old England by bowling wide of off stump and trying to build up pressure slowly then he has chosen the wrong path.
"It was proved in Australia that it is an approach which does not work and it will be fascinating to see if they have learnt from losing the Ashes 5-0.
"Test cricket has evolved rapidly and Cook must sense the moment."
In that context Warne said he was disappointed England had gone back to Matt Prior as their wicketkeeper rather than picking the younger Jos Buttler, who in the recent One-day series against Sri Lanka made a blistering century at Lord's but has yet to make his Test debut.
"When you are restructuring the team why pick Prior and not Jos Buttler? He has just shown how dangerous he is with the bat with a brilliant One-day hundred so stick with him while he is on a roll.
"Going back to Prior I really believe is a backward step. I hope this is not a teacher's, or should I say coach's pet selection," said Warne in a reference to the fact that Sussex keeper Prior was coached by Moores when the latter was at the south coast county.
"I played for Australia when Adam Gilchrist first came in to the side. He was not a complete keeper then, but he improved and everyone wanted a Gilchrist in their team, and why wouldn't you, because of his brilliant batting at seven.
"Well, Buttler could be your man so give him a go."
However, Warne said he'd no sympathy for the way non-striker Buttler was run out backing up by Sri Lanka spinner Sachithra Senananayake during the fifth One-day International at Edgbaston.
"I am only going on what (Sri Lanka's) Mahela Jayawardene said after the One-day series...He claimed they identified Buttler had been backing up a bit early and then gave him a warning in the next match.
"I am sorry mate but that means you are out. I have no issue with what Sachithra Senanayake did whatsoever."