Mitchell Starc doesn’t have great memories of the 2013 Ashes.
The same can be said of every Australian involved in that series, but Starc’s time on tour was particularly frustrating.
The left-armer was dropped twice then diagnosed with a stress fracture of the lower back, ensuring he played no part in the ensuing Australian whitewash at home.
“Consistency was something I got asked a lot about,” he recalled of the trip.
Starc returns to England a different man, as evidenced by a haul of 6-51 in the first innings of his opening tour game.
The 25-year-old’s confidence rocketed during a wondrous World Cup, when he snared 22 wickets at an average of 10.18 and the player-of-the-tournament prize.
But Starc believed it clicked earlier, when he was recalled for the fourth Test against India and gave opener Murali Vijay an almighty send-off.
“It probably wasn’t until that Sydney Test where things changed mentally I think for me with the red ball,” he said.
“I’ve worked a lot on it and found a lot of consistency that I’ve been working for, for a long time.
“In a headspace sense and the way my game has changed, I’m in a much better position than back then (2013).”
Starc senses the same feeling throughout the 17-man squad, who start their campaign to defend the urn on Wednesday in Cardiff.
“We’ve just got a big confidence about ourselves at the moment and we’re playing some good cricket – as a team (Australia are in a better position than 2013),” he said.
“Coming off the six months prior to that series, as opposed to six months prior to this series, it’s very different.”
Starc grabbed 11 wickets in the 2013 Ashes at an average of 32.45, dismissing Joe Root, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell in the thrilling 1st Test at Trent Bridge.
His side lost that series 3-0, but were close to victory in some of the Tests.
“Obviously, the result wasn’t what we were after in that series, but we had a lot of good days of cricket with bat and ball,” Starc said.
“I think we can take confidence out of that series. That’s where things sort of turned for the group.”