England Test skipper Joe Root wants his team to inflict a clean sweep over New Zealand and India during the home summer before gearing up for the much-awaited Ashes series Down Under.
England will host both the WTC finalists for seven Tests and their home season is set to get underway with the first of the two-Test series against New Zealand at Lord’s on Wednesday (June 2).
The five-Test series against India is scheduled to be played from August 4-September 14 at Trent Bridge, Lord’s, Headingly, The Oval and Old Trafford.
"There's going to be constant conversations about Australia throughout this summer," Root told reporters on Tuesday.
"There's no getting away from that. We've said for a long time now we're planning towards that series. As an English fan, as an English player, it is such an iconic series and one that holds so much weight.
"You talk about readying a side -- winning seven Test matches before going to Australia is the best way of doing that, filling the side with confidence."
The England captain added: "Every Test means a hell of a lot to these players, it means a hell of a lot to me and that (the Ashes) certainly won't be in our thoughts when we are out there playing these games."
However, the hosts have picked a full-strength side for the series opener against New Zealand. While Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer have been ruled out because of injury, England have rested the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow following their IPL 2021 stints and subsequent quarantine.
The Lord’s Test will see spectators returning to international cricket in England for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic. The match will be played in front of crowds of 25% capacity, or around 7,500 per day.
(With AFP inputs)