Getting the show on the road itself will count as an achievement considering the Covid-affected build-up to the marquee series
However, the squads have (mostly) made it to Adelaide to begin the multi-format series, which in itself is no mean feat. The men’s Ashes had to navigate Covid from the second Test onwards – while England’s support staff was severely depleted, Travis Head finished as the only player impacted – but the women’s series feels as though it will be even more of a tightrope walk because of the need to travel to New Zealand as soon as it finishes.
“It’s not ideal. But every sporting team in the world would say that at the moment and it’s certainly no excuse. This is the moment where we click into cricket mode”
Matthew Mott on the team’s preparations
Pre-series plans have largely been thrown away after the rejigging of the schedule, to start with the T20Is instead of the one-off Test. Mindsets have had to switch from the longest to the shortest format, although it’s a game the players are very familiar with. England were twice beaten by Australia’s A side as batters tried to hit their way into form and rhythm.
“Scattered,” Mott said when asked about preparations. “The English would probably say the same. It’s not ideal. But every sporting team in the world would say that at the moment and it’s certainly no excuse. This is the moment where we click into cricket mode. We’ve done a lot of workshopping, what can and can’t happen… I’m confident the group is resilient and adaptable enough to deal with whatever comes.”
But regardless of how the two sides match up, what happens in the middle will likely be only one part of the story of this Ashes.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo