Monaco - Former captain Steve Waugh believes Australia's bowling attack is the best in the world heading into their tour of South Africa.
The first of four Tests between two of cricket's greatest rivals gets underway on March 1 in Durban, and Waugh believes the series will see two of the game's best current bowling units face off.
It is the Aussies, though, who Waugh says are strongest in that department.
A veteran of a staggering 168 Test matches, the 54-year-old says that the quartet of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon has the potential to be the greatest attack in the history of Test cricket.
It is a massive call from Waugh, especially when one considers the Australian bowling unit of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne that dominated Test cricket for so long up until the early 2000s
But, speaking in Monaco at this week's Laureus World Sports Awards, Waugh backed the current crop.
"Australia’s attack is potentially an all-time great attack," Waugh explained.
"The three quicks – Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood – and Nathan Lyon are as good as any attack right now or in any previous era. They’re only going to get better."
The trick, Waugh added, was keeping them all fit.
"If we keep our top attack on the park in those four, then we’re going to be very hard to beat," he said.
"But if you get a couple of injuries and you take one or two of those bowlers out, it’s a different story. Burt right now I think our attack is the best in world cricket."
Because of the expected dominance of both bowling attacks, Waugh believes that it will be the batsmen who ultimately decide the series.
"These are two of the best bowling attacks in the world coming together. It’s up to the batters … whichever batting unit performs better will win the series because both bowling attacks are pretty potent and capable of taking 20 wickets," he said.
*Lloyd Burnard is in Monaco as a guest of Laureus ...