Former Wests Illawarra junior and Australian Test cricketer Phil Jaques can see why many are labelling this Ashes series, which starts at Edgbaston on Friday evening (AEST), as the most anticipated in Test cricket for 15 years.
Jaques expects it to be one of the closest series in recent history but has backed an in-form Australia to come up with a game-plan to handle England and their attacking 'BazBall' style of cricket.
Since Brendon McCullum's arrival as coach last year and Ben Stokes' appointment to the captaincy, England have won 11 of 13 Tests.
They've done so on the back of the most audacious batting Test cricket has seen.
Runs have been scored at a rate of 4.85 an over, while five players have averaged more than 45 and gone at a strike rate of about 75.
Jaques is confident England will take the same aggressive approach in the Ashes.
"I think they've shown that it works and I think the belief is really high in that team, that's for sure," he said.
"I think they believe that it will all work and I think it's going to put Australia under some real pressure.
"Depending on what the conditions are like, I think it's going to be a fantastic spectacle to watch.
"I think they're going to be looking to be aggressive and put our bowlers under some pressure and hit them off their lengths.
"Australia have got to stick to their guns, stick to their plans and not go away from what they do really well."
Australia head into the first Test at Edgbaston fresh from being crowned World Test Champions after beating India by 209 runs in the final at The Oval.
Scott Boland, who came into the team after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out due to injury, starred with the ball against India.
The question for Australian selectors is whether to stick with the three quicks who did the job at The Oval, or bring back a fit-again Hazlewood at the expense of either Boland or Mitchell Starc.
Jaques said regardless who Australia pick, they were in a good place with the quality of quick bowlers at their disposal.
"The biggest contentious decision for selectors I suppose is which bowlers to go with," he said.
"Obviously Josh Hazelwood's got a lot of credits in the bank and has been a fantastic bowler for a long period of time, as has Cummins and Starc.
"Those three have formed a real formidable attack for a number of years.
"What Scottie Boland has done at the start of his international career has been nothing short of amazing. He has been an unbelievable first-class bowler for a long time, but he has really transferred that and probably more so into the Test arena."
Jaques expected the four quicks mentioned, as well as Michael Nesser and Sean Abbott to feature for Australia heavily during the five-Test Ashes series.
"Nesser has been doing great in England, as has Sean Abbott, who has shone with ball and bat in county cricket," he said.
"It puts Australia in a really good position, knowing they've got some depth leading into the summer, which is a pretty jammed-packed schedule.
"I think all those guys mentioned will probably get a run somewhere. Whether Sean does as well, I'm not sure but he has shown how good a bowler he can be too, and making runs in county cricket as well.
"I think Australian cricket is in a really good place at the moment. It bodes very well for a successful Ashes series I think."
I think Australian cricket is in a really good place at the moment. It bodes very well for a successful Ashes series.- Phil Jaques
Jaques was also happy to see veteran opener David Warner make some runs in last week's win over India.
Warner struggled in the series in India earlier this year and he was England bowler Stuart Broad's bunny in the last series in the Old Dart, prompting talk the veteran opener could be dropped from the Australian side.
"I think he looked in a pretty good place. He batted pretty well though he'll be disappointed to get caught down leg-side for 40 odd. I think he was set for a really good big score.
"I think if he gets going and gets started and makes some runs early in the series, I think he can still have a really good series.
"I think he is still a very very good player, as he has been for a long period of time. The way he goes about his cricket, when he gets going, he is one of the world's best, he scores quickly, puts pressure on the bowlers and is valuable to the team when he is in good form.
"It's going to be interesting to see how it pans out, whether he gets his SCG swansong or not, I'm not sure. But if he starts the series well there's no reason why he can't write his own script and be able to retire when he wants."
But if he starts the series well there's no reason why he can't write his own script and be able to retire when he wants.- Phil Jaques speaking about David Warner
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