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Warne: England a shambles

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England are "a shambles" and will struggle in the Test series against New Zealand, according to legendary Australian spin bowler Shane Warne. 

Warne believes England face an uphill task to put the furore over Kevin Pietersen and the sacking of coach Peter Moores behind them to focus on lifting their game against a strong touring side in today's first Test at Lord's.

“It’s a bit of a shambles what’s going on with England at the moment, you’d have to say," said Australia's record wicket-taker. "That’s probably an understatement - a shambles. 

"The way the Peter Moores sacking went, the KP issue; it’ll be interesting to see how the players respond, whether they can come out and play well and shift their focus back on to playing.

“I’m sure they will but there’s so many issues going on at the moment it’ll be hard to see them coming out and playing well, especially against a very good New Zealand team."

Warne believes the tourists are strong in all departments and may well extend England's mixed run of recent results.

He said: “New Zealand have got swing bowling, they’ve got batting, they’ve got power when they are batting too, they’ve got spin.

"They are a very well drilled side; they are very well led by Brendan McCullum. He’s probably, with Michael Clarke, one of the two best captains in international cricket.

“Alastair Cook will have to lift his game to match Brendan McCullum. There’s going to be a lot of imagination from Brendan."

But the former scourge of England batsmen believes there are some signs of hope for the embattled hosts.

"It looks like a green wicket, the conditions are like winter, it’s cold, the ball is probably going to swing around and that will suit Jimmy Anderson," said Warne. "If Jimmy Anderson doesn’t take wickets then England are in all sorts of trouble."

And Warne claimed the debate over Pietersen not being recalled by England could have been avoided. 

“The whole situation has been handled really poorly; I don’t think anyone has said anything different," he added.

“You ask any ex-player, English player, Australian player, everybody says the same thing. It’s an absolute shambles and the quicker they get on with it the better for everyone but I think the whole handling of Peter Moores and KP has been pretty ordinary.”

But he doesn't think Pietersen's no-holds-barred autobiography, published last year in which he vented his animosity against a string of England players, can be fully to blame for the most recent KP controversy.

“I don’t know about that," said Warne. "He was told to make runs and he did – he went out and made 300 and he still couldn’t get in.”

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