Australia selector Mark Waugh accepts there are question-marks over his side's middle order for the Ashes, but brother Steve Waugh believes England cannot win the series if star all-rounder Ben Stokes does not make the trip.
Although Stokes has been named in the squad for the five-Test series that starts at The Gabba on November 26, he is a doubt to be selected due to being suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Stokes was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in Bristol last month, although he was released under investigation without charge, and will not travel to Australia with the rest of the squad this month.
And Steve Waugh, who played in over 150 Tests for Australia, believes England will lose if Stokes is not selected.
"If he doesn't come, I don't think they can win the Ashes," Waugh told Sky Sports Radio in Australia.
"Without Ben Stokes, we'll win. It's too much pressure on [Stuart] Broad and [James] Anderson, and they're getting a bit older, and I can't see them playing five Test matches straight. I think Australia will win 3-1."
Stokes issued an apology on Wednesday after a video clip emerged of the 26-year-old appearing to mimic Harvey Price, the disabled son of TV personality Katie Price, while he has been dropped by sportswear brand New Balance.
Please see below my apology to Katie and Harvey pic.twitter.com/hFx5DnBb8H— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) October 11, 2017
While Stokes would leave a chasm at number six in England's batting line-up, Waugh's brother Mark confirmed there are places in the middle order still up for grabs for the Ashes after Australia could only draw 1-1 against Bangladesh in their last Test series.
"In an ideal world you'd want someone like a Ben Stokes who can give you the ideal balance, bat and bowl," Waugh told Sky Sports Radio.
"Especially if you get a long, hot summer in Australia, there's a lot of wear and tear on just the four specialists bowlers, especially when your batsmen don't bowl. If some of your batsmen bowl, a bit like myself and Steve, I think we got about 150 Test wickets between us, you wouldn't really have to look for an all-rounder.
"But I think your number six as it stands is probably going to be a batsman and ideally he bowls a bit, someone like a [Marcus] Stoinis for example, even a Travis Head who bowls some offspin, Glenn Maxwell bowls a little bit. But the number one priority is batting. I'm not calling it an all-rounder, probably more a batting all-rounder. You're getting your best batsman at number six and if they can bowl a bit that's a bonus.
"We've got a few options there, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell's the incumbent six and guys like Travis Head and Marcus Stoinis. Every time he's played for Australia, he's really stepped up to the plate as well. So I don't think the out-and-out genuine all-rounder is there, given Mitch Marsh is coming back from a shoulder injury, so it's probably going to be that sort of player, a batsman who bowls a little bit."
|Munguia wins after 12-round marathon with Smith|
|Hart ready to leave City to revive career|
|Puel shuts down Schmeichel transfer speculation|
|Four-way tie at Barbasol Championship as Lincicombe misses cut|
|Lenglet happy not to face Messi|
|Tuchel keen to get PSG stars back after friendly defeat|
|Pulisic signing would interest Klopp|
|Whatever b******t you say, no one forgets – Klopp defends spending comments|
|Usyk outclasses Gassiev to make cruiserweight history|
|Pella books Cecchinato meeting in Umag, Ramanathan´s Newport run continues|
|Kisner expects nothing but exchange of ´horror stories´ with housemate Spieth|
|Inter new boy Lautaro Martinez denies Zenit in six-goal thriller|
|McIlroy eyeing early gains to apply scoreboard pressure|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s close shave|
|Salah is fully recovered and full of joy – Klopp|
|De Laurentiis accuses Sarri of trying to sign whole Napoli team|
|Lewis Hamilton explains German GP woes|
|O´Driscoll hails ´Test match animal´ Warburton|
|Spieth relishing prospect of Tiger tussle at Carnoustie|
|Sanches pushing for Bayern second chance - Kovac|
|Put on the Sunday red and enjoy Tiger´s ride regardless of Carnoustie outcome|
|Flawless Spieth takes share of Open lead after Tiger winds back the years|
|PSG´s Tuchel to be patient with World Cup stars Neymar, Mbappe & Cavani|
|Sanchez joins United tour in LA after visa issues|
|Catalans crush Salford to confirm Super League safety|
|Hamilton not giving up despite Hockenheim heartbreak|
|Spieth surges into Open Championship lead|
|Dumoulin is our biggest threat – Froome|
|Sane: Low gave me good reasons for World Cup snub|
|Tiger Woods in the hunt and loving it at The Open|
|Vettel delighted with German GP pole performance|
|Deschamps lauds intelligence of ´extraordinary´ Mbappe|
|Thomas maintains advantage as Fraile powers to stage victory|
|Woods sets clubhouse target, Kisner edges back in front|
|Bayern Munich 3 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Sanches strikes in ICC clash|
|Dost re-signs with Sporting CP after initially rescinding contract|
|Impressive Lions see off Jaguares to seal Waratahs semi|
|I´ll show Mourinho I´m ready, says United´s Pereira|
|Fognini sets up final clash with Gasquet|
|Injury ends Bouchard´s Swiss hopes, Sevastova through in Bucharest|
|That didn´t Work-u...race leader pulls up short of 3000metre finish|
|Prowling Tiger Woods on Open charge as Spieth joins leaders|
|Federer will struggle away from Wimbledon - Henman|
|Hamilton expecting tough Sunday at Hockenheim|
|Spalletti expects Icardi, Perisic to stay at Inter|
|Vettel smashes lap record to take Hockenheim pole after Hamilton woe|
|Warner targets Australia recall after Darwin debut|
|Rose: Open Sunday will be ´interesting´ after 64|
|Hamilton out of German GP qualifying as Mercedes falters|
|Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann? Deschamps mulls Ballon d´Or contenders|
|Farah concussed on 250th Wests game as Tigers stun Souths|
|Waratahs overrun Highlanders in stunning second-half fightback|
|Rose scores record-equalling 64 to jump into Open contention|
|Moreno hails Liverpool´s recruitment drive as ´top, top players´ arrive|
|AC Milan elect new board with CEO Fassone out|
|Sri Lanka grind sorry South Africa into the Colombo dirt|
|Mina ready to reject offers for Barcelona stay|
|Guardiola tells Sane to use World Cup snub as motivation|
|Golovin´s ex-team-mate Chepchugov drops hint over Chelsea move|
|Reed & Rose make early charges on Carnoustie ´moving day´|
|Sancho ´had a point to prove´ in Dortmund´s win over Manchester City|
|Li hits back at AC Milan owners Elliott as bitter split continues|
|Crusaders cruise past Sharks to book Hurricanes semi-final|
|Rabiot would be a great signing for Barcelona – Xavi|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Dolphins owner Ross: National anthem policy a ´placeholder´|
|Boga leaves Chelsea for Sassuolo|
|Schurrle in talks to leave Borussia Dortmund|
|Guardiola happy with Mahrez and Man City despite loss|
|Dodgers top Brewers in Machado´s debut|