Former Test captain Steve Waugh has
delivered a pre-Ashes warning to the national side’s under-performing
senior players and some sage advice for it’s criticised skipper.

Waugh, who captained Australia to 41 Test victories – including eight out of
nine Ashes Tests – tips an Australian victory in a tough struggle
against the old enemy this summer.

But he says out-of-form players shouldn’t be able to rely on incumbency to retain their spots for the showpiece series.

the miserable 2-0 series defeat in India left Australia languishing at
world No.5 and on their worst losing streak in more than two decades,
the veteran of 168 Test matches says inexperience should not rule out
players when the team is selected for next month’s first Test at the

While some argue that such a big series is no time to introduce fresh blood, Waugh doesn’t agree.

“I don’t see why not,” Waugh told AAP on Friday.

“Just because it’s an Ashes series doesn’t make it any different from any other series.

“You’ve got to put your best 11 players on the park irrespective of age or experience.”

never a big believer of picking players by age, it’s more the passion,
your form and whether you’re the right person for the job,” he said.

want 11 players there with passion who are playing really good cricket.
If there are 11 guys over 30, fair enough. If there are 11 guys under
20, fair enough.

Australia’s bowlers failed to take 20 wickets in either Test aganst India but Waugh says there’s no worries about the pace bowling depth as the team returns to Australian conditions.

got some great young bowlers, there’s (19-year-old Josh) Hazlewood,
there’s (20-year-old James) Pattison from Victoria and then of course
you’ve got Ryan Harris and (Peter) Siddle outside the side.

“There’s no shortage of quality quicks around.”

Much of the criticism from the Indian tour was directed at skipper Ricky Ponting.

But Waugh says Ponting may be able to use some of that to his advantage this
summer as he bids to reclaim the urn lost last year in England.

“With criticism, you’ve just got to look at it and see whether you can get something constructive from those comments,” he said.

“If you can learn by it that’s a positive, if you think it was unjustified then move on.

know as a former captain that you get the pats on the back when you’re
winning, and when you lose you don’t know what you’re doing.

“You can’t please everyone as captain … It’s about having the respect of the team.

“That’s your number one priority, if he’s got that then I don’t think he should worry too much about.”

Waugh believes Australia will win a tightly contested Ashes series 3-2 due to
superior knowledge of the conditions, but was careful not to
underestimate the English lineup, who arrive in Australia on Saturday.

“I think (a 5-0 prediction) is a bit ambitious this time around,” he said.

“I’ve watched (England) over the last couple of years and they’re a good unit.

play very well together, they’re hard to beat, they’ve got a good team
spirit, they’re well led and I think they’ll fancy their chances of
beating Australia.

“(But) we know our conditions very well in
Australia, we’re very confident here and we’ve got a quality side so
there’s no reason they can’t win.”