Former England captain Allan Lamb fears for the side's Ashes hopes if Ben Stokes is not part of the squad.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday that the all-rounder "will not travel at this stage" amid ongoing investigations following his arrest in Bristol last month.
Stokes was held overnight on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and released under investigation without charge following an altercation.
The incident has put his hopes of facing Australia in huge doubt and Lamb, who won the Ashes twice as a player, is worried that will leave England weak.
"He'll be a great loss, but I think the ECB are handling it the right way," he told Omnisport.
"They've got to wait for the investigation, all the legal stuff to be cleared. And if he gets cleared then they have to take him. If there's no charges against him then I believe they've got to take him.
"If you leave him out it'll be very difficult because he needs a bit of help too. England need him. If we're going to win the Ashes, then Ben Stokes playing for England is a good thing."
Steven Finn has been called up in Stokes' place for the time being and Lamb feels he would provide more than adequate cover in the bowling department, but the 63-year-old thinks Moeen Ali is being incorrectly utilised in the batting line-up.
He said: "Steve Finn's a good bowler. I think they've got to get a replacement bowler in, but with him [Stokes] being an all-rounder it's a great loss.
"I think Moeen Ali is wasted batting at eight, sometimes nine in that side. Someone's got to come in at five, either [Jonny] Bairstow or Moeen Ali."