We’re really looking forward to the Ashes, we’ve got a group of players who are really excited and relishing the opportunity to tour Australia – it’s a fantastic place to go.
If we can go over there and earn the respect of their nation and the respect of everyone around the world for fronting up and playing some good cricket, that’s what you want to be coming back having done.
It is completely different to the last series in Australia, both personally and as a team. If you look back to the last Ashes tour, I hadn’t even kept wicket for a full county season and all of a sudden I was keeping in a Boxing Day Test match in front of 92,500 people.
It was a totally different tour and a completely different group going on it, a different environment with people at different stages of their careers, I’m at a different stage of my career and, as I alluded to earlier, it is a great place to go and tour.
Ahead of any series, you look at your own strengths and how we can go about our business, everything about our preparation, how we approach the game and how we can go out there and perform. Then you cross any other boundaries when you come to them.
There are lots of challenges when it comes to batting and wicketkeeping in Australia: bounce, different pitches, different heat, different conditions wherever you go, in the pink ball Test match you don’t know how the ball is going to act in Australia compared to the match we had in England.
There are so many factors revolving around the atmospheric conditions and the pitches. How is the ball going to react? Is it going to reverse? Is going to bounce more at certain places? Is it going to turn? You just don’t know and that is the beauty of cricket.
People make a lot of the media coverage but I didn’t read any of the stuff in the press during the last tour. Mitchell Johnson bowled fantastically in that 2013/14 series, probably the best he’s ever bowled and it was a really good series for him.
Sometimes when you come up against people like that when they’re on song and they change games. He played so well in that series, so credit to him for that.
There is a hype around the Ashes and whether you choose to read it or listen to it or not is a very personal decision. Having the ability to switch on and off from it is important.
I have spent a few months working on my new book and looking at some of those things, I think it puts everything into perspective, no matter who you are playing against.
Even when you’re just walking down the street, whether you are playing cricket or not. Whether that is going to help or not though, you just don’t know.
What will help is that we had a very good summer and finished it off really, really well. The lads have played really nicely, we’ve won two Test series and we go into the Ashes with confidence but, at the same time, we’re not going in with ideas above our stations.
We’re excited about the challenge and we are thoroughly looking forward to what will hopefully be a successful tour for us.