After another day of Ashes preparations were washed out and with concerns over COVID restrictions building, England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler says the tourists need to focus solely on next week's first Test.
England were hoping to begin a tour game in Brisbane on Tuesday but rain returned overnight to force the opening day's play to be abandoned without a ball being bowled.
That comes after just 29 overs were possible in last week's England v England Lions tour game at Peter Burge Oval, leaving the tourists scrambling to get in some red-ball match practice before the Ashes begin at the Gabba next Wednesday.
There are also fears the new COVID variant will lead to tighter restrictions for the players and border closures on a tour which England's players only agreed in October to participate in.
With Australia's on-field preparations similarly hampered by south-east Queensland's wet weather and off-field turmoil over the Tim Paine sexting scandal, Buttler says the team which can put distractions out of mind next week and perform will gain a massive edge in the series.
"Probably both sides are excited for the cricket to start and for the off-field distractions to sort of hopefully move into the background," Buttler said.
"We can start really talking about some great cricket on the field and think the Ashes series are always fantastic.
"There always seems to be certain things that happened before Ashes series and as players it's very important that you don't get too drawn into that or too drawn into what the opposition are doing."
The emergence of the Omicron variant has raised doubts about whether English players' families will be able to join them on tour or if they'll be able to enjoy the freedoms initially agreed to ahead of travelling to Australia.
Buttler says the key lesson players have had to learn over the COVID pandemic is to not think too far ahead and worry about situations as they arise.
"It's a hypothetical situation at the moment and until we get told that something's changed, there's no decision to make," he said.
"It just adds to the unknowns, the things I don't really need to worry about at the moment. If something like that happens, I have to get the information and we can sort of work through it and see how that looks."
Another unknown is the future of the fifth Test in Perth, with WA Cricket chief executive Christina Matthews rating it as a 50-50 chance of happening earlier in the week.
In what will be Buttler's first taste of Ashes cricket in Australia, the 31-year-old said he was hopeful Perth would remain on the schedule.
"I've not been part of an Ashes series in Australia, but the Perth Test is always a fantastic game," he said.
"It'd be a great shame if the game can't be played in Perth ... that new stadium is fantastic.
"Fingers crossed that things improve and the tour can run as scheduled."
England's hopes of getting some much-needed time in the middle for stars Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson don't look promising with further rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.
Australian Associated Press