SYDNEY (AFP) - Former Test captain Steve Waugh Friday warned Australia's under-performing senior players they could not count on experience alone to keep their places in the Ashes team to play England next month.
Ricky Ponting's Australians are feeling the heat after a 2-0 series defeat in India this month left them languishing at five on the world rankings, below fourth-listed England and on their worst losing streak for more than 20 years.
Waugh, who led Australia to 41 Test victories -- including eight out of nine Ashes Tests -- said inexperience should not rule out players when the team is selected for the November 25 first Test at Brisbane's Gabba ground.
"I don't see why not," the hard-bitten warrior of 168 Test matches told reporters. "Just because it's an Ashes series it 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," he said.
Australia's bowlers failed to take all 20 wickets in either Test against India but Waugh said he had no concerns about the pace bowling depth as the team returns to home pitches.
Waugh said under-fire skipper Ponting may be able to turn the criticism he has received to his advantage this summer as he bids to reclaim the Ashes 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.
"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."
Waugh believes Australia will win a tightly-contested Ashes series 3-2 due to superior knowledge of the home conditions.
"I've watched (England) over the last couple of years and they're a good unit," he said.
"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.
"(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."
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