England suffered a 2-0 series defeat to South Africa amid the Kevin Pietersen 'texting' controversy that resulted in the star batsman being exiled from the squad. Fast forward 12 months and England now appear in a much better place. A historic series win in India heralded Alastair Cook's arrival as skipper before a comfortable 2-0 home triumph over New Zealand ensured the reverse tour blank could be absolved.
Anderson believes life in the England dressing room has never been better. "There is no downside at the minute. We had a really good week at Essex," said Anderson, speaking on behalf of ECB's #RISE programme when hundreds of local cricket clubs will hold open days over the five Investec Ashes Series weekends.
"The dressing room was relaxed when it could be. It was switched on when it needed to be just before we went out into the middle and on the field. I thought we were very professional. Generally there is a really relaxed feel in the camp and an excitement of what is about to come.
"We are aware what that slip in form (against South Africa) did to our rankings. We are determined to put that right."
Anderson also confirmed Pietersen's return had been most welcomed, adding: "He's an extraordinary player. We saw that last week, I know he only got 49 but it just seemed far too easy for him. He was in great form - he's on the back of a big hundred for Surrey. An in-form KP is vital to our team going forward."
The apparent cosiness of the England set-up is a far cry from the ills that have beset Australia as they have prepared for the start of the first Test at Trent Bridge on Wednesday. Mickey Arthur's shock sacking as coach left new man Darren Lehmann with just 16 days to drag the tourists out of near disarray.
He has attempted to hasten that process by vowing to return to an aggressive 'Australian style' that has accommodated a fair share of Baggy Green success in the past. That has been rewarded with a couple of dominant performances in their two warm-up games and Anderson is wary a 'nothing to lose mentality' has been generated that should be feared.
"They basically have got not much to lose," the England fast bowler said. "A lot of them don't really have any (Ashes) memories. A lot of them won't have played in the Ashes before. That's dangerous in itself. They've got guys who will want to prove a point and show they are worthy of selection."
:: Hundreds of local cricket clubs will #RISE for England by holding Open Days over the five Investec Ashes Series weekends. Find out about your local club and their event at ecb.co.uk/clubopendays.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Pietersen
- Alastair Cook