Tim Paine: This is how we will win the Ashes
To captain your country is an honour, to captain an Ashes is a childhood dream only few have experienced and to captain your country in an Ashes series in England is almost next level.
India was once described as the 'final frontier' for Australian cricket because it had been so long since we had won a series there.
Ashes wins at home and away were almost a given then, but the latter has become as elusive as a win on the subcontinent.
In this job you follow in the footsteps of giants.
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Steve Waugh was the last captain to win here and that was back in 2001. I was 16 at the time. Things changed a lot in the years after that. England woke and the 2005 series was one of the greatest of all time. Ricky Ponting, then Michael Clarke came over with some great sides but fell short.
We've looked at those series closely. Analysed them and sifted through the details, looked at the old footage and we are determined to learn from the experiences. We asked ourselves what they did right, but more importantly where they went wrong.
Justin Langer says we have to leave our ego at the door and that's become a bit of a motto for the tour. In the past there's been an attitude that you have to play cricket the Australian way but it hasn't worked and has to change.
We have to be more humble. We have to be more patient with bat and ball. We've got to be more disciplined and at times be more defensive with the way we bat, the way we bowl and the fields we set.
We know that conditions change quickly here so you need to adapt quickly. You might be batting really well when the conditions are in your favour and all of a sudden the weather changes and it starts to swing and seam. It's the same when you are bowling.
It is about having plan A, B, C and D and making sure that we know exactly what we want to do in all those different conditions whether batting or bowling.
It's about being brave enough to adapt and back our plans. I think in the past teams have come here and played a brand of cricket that wins games of cricket in Australia and that hasn't worked.
Things are coming at us fast. We moved from Southampton to Birmingham on Saturday and had our first team meeting on Sunday, an optional training session that day and then back at it Monday.
In the first full team meeting we had a check in our values as a team which are: mateship, humility, professionalism, learning and honesty. It was just to see where we are at with those things and to reiterate their importance. We know values can get lost or challenged especially in a tough series.
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If we keep focus on those five areas we believe we will stay in the right place.
We've changed the structure of our team meetings, so we met with the bowlers and then the batsmen separately before getting everyone together. That way things don't drag on when we talk about plans and skill sets for each group. It's important to not waste people's time because it's a long series and especially for the boys who were here for the World Cup.
The boys have already spent a lot of time in team meetings. This way the batters talk batting, the bowlers bowling and there's no distractions. We want the batsmen to know exactly what their plans are when James Anderson runs into bowl and the bowlers to know what they are doing when they run in to bowl to Joe Root.
We don't need 50 opinions going around the room.
Leaving Southampton was difficult, there were 25 of us playing cricket there but only 17 of us got on the bus to Birmingham. Eight very good players missed out and that was difficult. It was a strange feeling, we had 17 guys over the moon and the rest who had some very tough news. They had been so close to playing in the Ashes I reckon some of them could taste it and to have it taken away was so hard.
I was really proud of the way the playing group supported those guys and the guys who didn't get picked were fantastic as well. They've been sending messages of support despite being obviously disappointed.
Before I let that go, I have to say how impressed I was with the way the boys stuck at that tour game in Southampton. A lot was said about the low scores and while we don't accept mediocrity, those conditions we were faced with were extremely challenging. I know we are going to get wickets over here that swing and seam, but the wicket we had swung, seamed, was up and down.
I've played in those conditions before when games have been called off. The way our batsmen stuck at it when it was at times borderline dangerous was outstanding.
I didn't hear one batsman complain. That was so impressive and a great sign of where they are at. It took flat out courage to bat on that pitch.
That's the attitude and character we want. It showed us we have the right people around our group.