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."
|Markram replaces rested Amla for final ODI|
|Benzema ´very happy´ at Real Madrid amid Arsenal rumours|
|Azpilicueta admits to low mood in Chelsea camp|
|Lozowski ends exit talk by signing Saracens extension|
|Button reveals where he plans to race in 2018|
|Bacca: I played for the worst AC Milan in history|
|I don´t want the dog meat, I want the dog himself - Saunders targeting Golovkin or Canelo|
|Aluko ´100 per cent´ in England contention, says interim boss|
|Injured Napoli striker Milik hints at loan move|
|Dortmund not expecting Reus exit|
|Neymar plans to emulate Messi by mentoring Mbappe|
|Mourinho still unclear on fitness of Pogba and Fellaini|
|Wests Tigers centre Idris retires at 27|
|Sodhi replaces injured Astle in New Zealand´s ODI squad|
|Heynckes happy with Muller form|
|Kane describes Ronaldo as ´role model´ following shirt swap|
|PSG star Mbappe: Monaco need time|
|I have full support of Everton board, claims Koeman|
|England have the right balance for Ashes - Bairstow|
|Thomas pulls clear in South Korea|
|Timberwolves, 76ers fall in anticipated openers|
|Cubs stay alive, Yankees poised to reach World Series|
|Girardi calls Tanaka ´special´ after game five masterpiece|
|Cubs´ Maddon ejected after umpires reverse controversial call|
|Brown hails ´exceptional´ Simmons after 76ers debut|
|Wilshere: Arsenal´s character can´t be questioned|
|Simmons replaces Rodda as Hunt misses out for Wallabies|
|No-one can compete with Messi – Bartomeu|
|Brennan named Titans coach|
|Man United risk losing identity under Mourinho – Bellamy|
|Hayward delivers message to Celtics fans from hospital bed|
|Valverde hopes Messi scores 200th European goal this season|
|Storm, Cowboys to meet in round three in 2018|
|Dodgers´ Roberts all too familiar with historic 3-0 comebacks|
|Maddon on staving off elimination: Cubs have to start hitting ball|
|Stop worrying about Chelsea – Conte hits back at Mourinho|
|Roma better than Chelsea, says Nainggolan|
|Bemelmans stuns Kyrgios in Antwerp, Sock back on track in Stockholm|
|Basel coach Wicky demands more focus|
|Heynckes calls for patience from Bayern´s reserve stars|
|Emery calls for PSG improvement despite perfect start|
|Pique handball instinctive, says Barcelona boss Valverde|
|Dzeko was born to score – Di Francesco|
|Lemonis rues Olympiacos collapse against 10-man Barca|
|Rodgers: Individual class inhibiting Celtic|
|David Luiz experiment failed, admits Conte|
|Banvit claim first win as Petrol Olimpija run out of gas|
|Allegri not impressed despite crucial win|
|Svilar risks a lot – Mourinho was aware of Benfica youngster´s shortcomings|
|We played better against Atletico – Hazard|
|Job done for Mbappe and PSG after another big win|
|Colts QB Luck suffers setback in recovery from shoulder injury|
|Simeone maintains ´absolute´ belief in Atletico despite Qarabag draw|
|Mladenovic slump continues in Moscow, Kontaveit crashes out in Luxembourg|
|Louisville fires AD Tom Jurich amid pay-for-play scandal|
|CSKA Moscow 0 Basel 2: Xhaka, Oberlin do the damage|
|Juventus 2 Sporting CP 1: Late Mandzukic intervention saves wasteful Bianconeri|
|Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0: Hoops outclassed on Heynckes´ return to Europe|
|Chelsea 3 Roma 3: Hazard brace rescues Conte´s men after Dzeko double|
|Anderlecht 0 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Mbappe takes one record as Cavani closes on another|
|Barcelona 3 Olympiacos 1:Ton-up for Messi as Pique sees red|
|Benfica 0 Manchester United 1: Rashford goal settles poor game after woeful Svilar error|
|Sopoaga replaces injured Barrett for Bledisloe clash|
|Messi joins Ronaldo in European 100-goal club|
|NFL commissioner Goodell hopes to get player protests to ´zero´|
|Good results are on the way in the league - Salah|
|Algeria restore Madjer to the helm|
|Griezmann eyes qualification despite Atleti´s Qarabag stumble|
|Inzaman´s nephew, Imam, makes debut century as Pakistan win ODI series|
|FA chief Glenn denies Aluko´s ´bordering on blackmail´ claim|