Waugh confident of Australia success but fears Archer in the Ashes

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Steve Waugh has backed Australia to enjoy a winning run in the final months of the year as they build up confidence ahead of the Ashes, where he is fearful of a returning Jofra Archer.

Three consecutive victories in ODIs against England have put Australia in a better spot heading into a series of Tests against the West Indies and South Africa either side of the new year.

The Ashes then follows in June, with the World Cup in India to close out the year, and former Australia captain Waugh is confident about his side's chances.

"We've got a good cricket side, there's no doubt about that. We got a really good bowling attack, so they're capable of winning matches," he told Stats Perform.

"I think we'll beat West Indies pretty convincingly. Then we've got three Tests against South Africa, an emerging test side with a really good bowling attack. But I think they're batting is not quite up to standard.

"I think Australia will win most Test matches. But then they've got some hard Test matches coming up overseas. It's a long difficult period. It's 12 months of non-stop cricket for Australia."

Waugh highlighted the importance in getting wins on the board now to build up momentum for the Ashes, where Australia are looking to retain the urn.

"The Ashes is a big tournament for Australian cricket that's coming up in about less than 12 months now. We're looking towards that," he added.

"But in the meantime, they've West Indies and South Africa. I think will win those series, then we've got India away, which is really hard, and then the Ashes.

"The Ashes is hard to win. It's a tough assignment, but the guys are capable of winning.

"It's a long way off, and it might come down to which sides have fewer injuries to key players. If England have Jofra Archer playing, they're going to have a chance of winning."

Waugh also sprung to the defence of captain Pat Cummins, who has been outspoken on climate change and has come under the spotlight for his stance.

"He's realising that captaincy can be a difficult assignment. One minute people love you, the next minute they don't like you and your opinions matter," he explained.

"He's bought into the climate change issues and sponsorship. And yes, there's a few issues that have been around the side. I guess he's realised that maybe he's got more power than he thought he has.

"Whatever he says carries a lot of weight. And sometimes you've gotta be pretty careful what you say. But I think he's done a very good job as a captain on the field.

"He's learning as he goes along, which is only natural. He's pretty young for a captain."

Steve Waugh is an ambassador for the Laureus Challenge 2022, presented by Sierra Space.