Nick Compton: It’s hard to gauge England ahead of the first Test
The Ashes are here and we’re all set for rip-roaring five Tests between Australia and England.
And to bring you even closer to the action, we’ve teamed up with former England international Nick Compton.
Throughout the series Nick will be bringing his unique insight into how things might pan out Down Under.
Over to you, Nick…
Seventeen England cricketers have the opportunity to become heroes during the next seven weeks of the Ashes series.
If individuals can embrace the toughest challenge in world cricket and inspire the team to become winners, their names will be indelibly-linked to the cricketing heroes of yesteryear who succeeded Down Under.
Douglas Jardine, Len Hutton, Ray Illingworth, Mike Gatting and Andrew Strauss are all men whose careers have been remembered for all the right reasons.
Joe Root will be hoping he becomes known as more than a top-class batsman.
The next five Tests could see him crowned as a champion cricketer. But it’s going to be a tough gig.
It’s very hard to gauge where England stand going into the first Test in Brisbane.
The standard of the opposition has hardly been testing up to now, which can often give us all a false sense of security.
I remember my first tour to India in 2012. We played a couple of warm-up matches in India before the first Test in Ahmedabad and the opposition on each occasion were nothing better than a Saturday afternoon club side.
As the first day of my first Test dawned, I was unsure as to whether I was truly prepared or not.
I had made a few runs before the Test but the prospect of facing R. Ashwin, Zaheer Khan and Ravi Jadeja a week later in front of 50,000 screaming fans was another matter all together.
The most important question a player asks themselves when they arrive in a foreign land is: ‘Can I find form and can I find it early?’.
A few nets and gym sessions in a freezing indoor school back home in October is better than nothing, but it barely skims the surface regarding where you need to be – the skin you need to slip into.
At the outset, everyone is queuing up to contribute and make that starting line up if at all possible.
In a side with great team spirit this can be enervating – a real positive. I think this squad has that overriding quality of selflessness about it.