Joe Root is in a race against time to mould his perfect Ashes team
With just three more matches against the Windies, starting at Edgbaston Thursday, before the Ashes, the England captain knows there is little time to get his team right for the biggest series of all.
There are question marks over three of the positions in the top six, with opener Mark Stoneman making his debut in Birmingham and Tom Westley and Dawid Malan in need of runs to cement their places at three and five respectively.
However, once England leave for Australia in late October, Root is aware that getting things right on the field is only half the battle.
The Yorkshireman admits he was taken aback by the off-field hostility on his only previous Ashes tour in 2013-14, when England suffered a humiliating 5-0 whitewash.
“My first Ashes tour, a lot of the side was similar to the one which went and won there in 2010-11,” said Root. “They all said it was an amazing tour, they had a great time.
It was very hostile – quite aggressive at times on and off the field
England captain Joe Root
“My experience was different, it was very hostile – quite aggressive at times on and off the field. Especially off the field, in fact. The crowd give you a hard time and the guys are fully aware that’s the case.
“That’s probably what made it so enjoyable for the guys who went there and won. You do get a hard time but when you win it’s that bit more enjoyable.
"Our challenge is to experience that and not let it faze us and hopefully come back with that little urn.”
Root, along with Alastair Cook, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson, is likely to be only one of five players to have previously experienced an away Ashes Test when the series starts in Brisbane on November 23.
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So as captain he feels it is his duty to warn the newcomers of what is likely to come their way from a hostile Australian public.
“You don’t want to go out there and it just hit you like a train. You want to make sure you’re fully aware of what’s coming your way,” he said.
“Last time there were a few chants from the crowd that were quite personal at times, quite offensive. I was slightly surprised. I thought they might give us a bit of banter but it was a bit more than that.
“At Brisbane, a beach ball came on the field and they wanted me to throw it back. Someone said something a bit rude so I just chucked it to the steward, who popped it. For the rest of that day it carried on with not very nice words.
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“It wasn’t very family friendly. I think they see it as humour and if you respond well to it you have the opportunity to win them over.
“The thing to remember, even if it doesn’t seem it at the time, is it’s generally in good spirit and they’re just trying to create an atmosphere for their side.
“They’re so passionate about cricket and desperate to win. When you get a full house and it’s rocking and the crowd are involved it makes a very entertaining spectacle to watch and also to play in.
“It’s great if you can go out there with everyone against you and put in a match-winning performance. That’s one of the greatest things in professional sport, to come over those difficult periods and prove your worth. It’s important as a side we look at it as an opportunity.”