Australia v England - 5th Test: Day 1
HOBART, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14:Travis Head of Australia bats during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena on January 14, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Australia v England - 5th Test: Day 1

Former Australian head coach Darren Lehmann has slammed Australia's selection for the first Test in Nagpur, claiming that the choice to leave Travis Head out of the equation was "ridiculous".

While unable to claim his only series win in India in 2017, Lehmann proved his subcontinental know-how, guiding the Australian's to a series opening win ahead of an eventual 2-1 loss.

Following the tourist's decimation in the series opener last week by an innings and 132 runs, the proud South Australian went in to bat for his statesman, suggesting that Head's absence had played a role in abating the final margin.

“They didn't get selection right. Not playing Head was ridiculous, and he could have bowled some extra overs," Lehmann told The Sydney Morning Herald. 

“The hardest thing for him now is how is he going to try and stay in the side after having such an amazing two years at home.

“If he's ever going to succeed it was going to be off the back of the confidence the home series gave him. It's a really tough one for him. Obviously they had their reasons but the records of the other blokes aren't overly flattering either apart from (Steve) Smith, and (Marnus) Labuschagne is obviously a good player of spin.”

Head's omission came off the back of yet another sterling home summer, one in which the middle-order batsman scored 525 runs throughout five Tests against West Indies and South Africa.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Mitch Marsh, David Warner and Travis Head of Australia celebrate in the change rooms after Australia claimed victory to retain the Ashes during day five of the 4th Specsavers Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford on September 08, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Despite heading up Brisbane Heat's BBL program, Lehmann professed that a lack of red-ball preparation, with Test stars opting to involve themselves in domestic short-form contests in the lead-up to the four-Test tour.

“Ideally, they should have played a tour game,” Lehmann added.

“They don't like to do that because the tour match we played last time (2017) was on a green wicket.

“But it's still batting for a long period of times in the heat and getting used to the ball, things like that. So a tour game would have been handy ideally, but they decided to do the BBL didn't they, which was good for the Heat because we got Marnus and 'Uzzie' (Usman Khawaja), but maybe they needed a tour game. It's easy in hindsight, though, isn't it.”

The second Test is scheduled to take place at Delhi's Arun Jaitley Stadium on Friday, February 17.