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."
|Celtics get another short-handed win, Curry injured again|
|Wozniacki exits as Venus, Konta cruise in Miami|
|Wozniacki stunned by Puig in Miami|
|Mexico 3 Iceland 0: Layun scores brace in friendly win|
|Djokovic struggles continue as Cilic, Dimitrov progress|
|Usain Bolt not ready for top level, says Stoger|
|Ronaldo is a goal – Santos hails Portugal star|
|Pro Bowl TE Bennett announces retirement from NFL|
|Broncos acquire Veldheer from Cardinals for sixth-round pick|
|Dustin Johnson smashes 489-yard drive at Match Play|
|Celtics star Irving to have procedure on knee|
|Giants lose Bumgarner, Samardzija to injuries days before season opener|
|Dybala and Icardi World Cup chances not over yet, says Sampaoli|
|Reed dumps Spieth out, Harman accounts for McIlroy|
|James: Colombia can´t get carried away with France win|
|Italy to wait on Verratti injury|
|Lopetegui happy with Spain showing against ´physically stronger´ Germany|
|Warriors rampant, Weir inspires Edinburgh|
|Messi has had hamstring injury for ´some time´|
|Forward-thinking Southgate makes case for England´s defence|
|McLeish to ring Scotland changes for Hungary clash|
|Rodrigo dedicates Spain goal to Canizares after death of son|
|France were taught a lesson in aggression by Colombia, says Deschamps|
|Late Simmonds penalty breaks Bath hearts|
|Ronaldo up to third on all-time list after Portugal brace|
|Cowboys boost receiving corps with Allen Hurns signing|
|Tigers cling on to win Elland Road thriller, Saints respond at Hull KR|
|Meunier expects PSG will sack Emery|
|Tony Romo finishes last in PGA Tour debut|
|Germany friendly emotionally important for Brazil - Tite|
|France 2 Colombia 3: Quintero completes stunning comeback in Paris|
|Portugal 2 Egypt 1: Late Ronaldo double stuns Salah-inspired Pharaohs|
|No Messi, no Magic – Sampaoli playing a risky game ignoring Dybala|
|Netherlands 0 England 1: Lingard strikes to ruin Koeman´s debut|
|Scotland 0 Costa Rica 1: McLeish suffers defeat in first game back|
|Argentina 2 Italy 0: Banega & Lanzini win it for Messi-less Albiceleste|
|Germany 1 Spain 1: Muller wonderstrike cancels out Rodrigo opener|
|Curry available to make Warriors return against Hawks|
|Paire ousts out-of-sorts Djokovic in Miami|
|Ibrahimovic: If I want to go to the World Cup, I´m there|
|Michael Bennett indicted for allegedly injuring paraplegic woman|
|Svitolina ends Osaka winning run in Miami|
|Australia not ready for World Cup – Van Marwijk|
|Turkey 1 Republic of Ireland 0: Topal strike downs O´Neill´s men|
|Norway 4 Australia 1: Kamara hat-trick spoils Van Marwijk´s Socceroos bow|
|Aguero to miss Argentina friendlies|
|Monaco rubbish reports Rybolovlev will sell club and buy AC Milan|
|Harman sends McIlroy packing in Austin|
|Messi misses Argentina-Italy game|
|Neuer cautious over comeback date despite taking positive steps|
|Lehmann slams ´disgraceful´ Newlands abuse|
|Di Maria predicts ´big change´ at PSG after Champions League failure|
|Everton defender Holgate warned for alleged homophobic tweets|
|Russia 0 Brazil 3: Coutinho on target in routine win|
|Icardi must keep performing to earn Argentina recall, says Zanetti|
|Different place, same Zlatan - Ibrahimovic determined to maintain winning DNA with LA Galaxy|
|Injured Cavendish out of Commonwealth Games|
|Experience the key for Juventus in title race, insists Trezeguet|
|Stanikzai plays through the pain to guide Afghanistan to glory|
|Lyon and Paine frustrate Proteas after Morkel joins 300 club|
|Messi lacks Maradona´s charisma, claims Batistuta|
|Usain Bolt claims he´ll return to Dortmund|
|Trezeguet confident Pogba will shine at the World Cup|
|Ibrahimovic departs Europe with remarkable haul of league titles|
|´Very, very happy´ Lanzini loves West Ham amid transfer talk|
|LA Galaxy confirm Ibrahimovic arrival|
|Pressure off soaring Falcons, says Flood|
|Afghanistan edge out Ireland to secure World Cup spot|
|Age no barrier to Messi brilliance - Kluivert|
|Japan 1 Mali 1: Late Nakajima strike earns a draw|