Sydney: England batting coach Graham Gooch has said that playing against Australia is the ultimate challenge and nothing tastes sweeter than Ashes success.
"English and Australian cricket players get on pretty well. But do they want to beat each other bad? They want to beat each other real bad. They don`t mind shaking hands afterwards and having a chat and being mates when it`s all over," he said.
"But when you`re on the field, it`s no holds barred. It`s the ultimate challenge. It`s what you grow up with. It`s the clash of culture for me, the way the histories of the two countries have developed," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Gooch, as saying.
"It`s more than just a sporting contest and that`s the way it`s played. Long may it be so because it`s a great challenge to go out there. It`s a great honour for each player on each side to walk out there across that white line and represent their country in a match of such importance," he said.
Gooch said preparations are coming along well for England to successfully defend the Ashes.
"When you`re leading up to a big series, you get that sort of tingle. We`ve not come for the beaches. We`ve come to win the Ashes, simple as that," he said.
"All we can control is what we do, make sure we`re 100 per cent committed mentally, physically and technically come the morning of the 25th of November (for the Brisbane Test). We`re attuned to winning. That`s the important thing," Gooch said.
"This three-match series as I like to call it against Western Australia, South Australia and this (Australia A) game, it`s a series to win. We`ve won one, drawn one. We can win this one, that`s a two-zip win.
"That`s the difference. We`re here to win the games. We`re here to beat any Australian side put up against us," Gooch said.