Former Test captain Steve Waugh has predicted that Australia will win the Ashes but warned the under-performing senior players not to take their place for granted in the national team.

Asked if young players should be introduced in big series, Waugh said: “I don’t see why not. 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.”

“I’m 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. You 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,” Waugh was quoted as saying by The Age.

Australia suffered a 0-2 Test series loss in India and slipped to World No.5. Australian bowlers failed to take 20 wickets in either Test against India but Waugh says at home pacers will be on top form.

“We’ve 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,” said Waugh.

Defending captain Ricky Ponting, Waugh said: “With criticism, you’ve just got to look at it and see whether you can get something constructive from those comments. If you can learn by it that’s a positive, if you think it was unjustified then move on. I 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.”

On Australia’s chances, Waugh said: “I think (a 5-0 prediction) is a bit ambitious this time around. I’ve watched (England) over the last couple of years and they’re a good unit. They 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.”

Keywords: Ashes series

RELATED NEWS

Strauss: Bowlers will be fit for Ashes defenceOctober 28, 2010

More In: Cricket | Sport