Waugh confident of Australia success but fears Archer in the Ashes

By Sports Desk November 28, 2022

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.

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    There was no dream start for Borthwick after he replaced the sacked Eddie Jones as Red Rose head coach in December, as Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup with a 29-23 win.

    Duhan van der Merwe starred in an entertaining Six Nations clash, scoring a brilliant solo try in the first half and adding a second five minutes from time to give Gregor Townsend's side a bonus-point victory. 

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    Borthwick said: "This is part of the growth of the team.

    "We got ourselves in a position when we should have won the Test match in the second half. At 20-12 up, we shouldn't be letting that game get away from us. You have to go through some pain.

    "Really good teams would go on and win that.

    "We were playing against a Scotland team who have controlled this fixture in recent years. We need to make sure we limit chances and can shut them down."

    Borthwick says it is not all doom and gloom after a losing start to his reign.

    He added: "We saw some growth, particularly in the attacking side of the game. The game was quicker, but clearly we're disappointed in the result.

    "The team in the autumn, if they conceded a couple of scores early didn't come back from that. These guys did.

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    Jamie Merchant ended with 4-43 off his 20.5 overs.

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    After the resumption, the pair added just five more runs before Lugg fell caught behind off the bowling of Sheeno Berridge for seven in the ninth over.

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