For Brisbane, read Cardiff - Taylor
When Australia's selectors sit down to choose the squad for the first Test against India they must think as much about the composition of the XI for the first Ashes Test against England in Cardiff eight months later, the former captain and current Cricket Australia board member Mark Taylor has said.
Taylor was adamant the team's older players such as Chris Rogers, Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris should be retained if they are part of next year's Ashes plans, but moved aside if they are not.
Part of the reason for England's dramatic fade from a 3-0 win at home to a 5-0 humiliation abroad last summer was the fact that many members of the team - the spinner Graeme Swann and the coach Andy Flower among them - were hanging on for one last tour. Taylor said more forward thinking was required.
"I don't like picking sides when you're not a selector but what I would say is whatever side they pick for the first Test should have this summer and the Ashes in mind," Taylor said at Nine's season launch in Sydney. "I think if they believe Chris Rogers can play in England next year I would pick him for the first Test.
"But if they don't believe that I think it's time to make a change, because there are some good young players coming through. I think they've got to start looking at some younger guys to fill the voids of Chris Rogers, Shane Watson's probably got a couple of years left in him, Michael Clarke's probably only got a couple of years left. We've got to start looking to fill those voids.
"There are some good young ones around. Phil Hughes is probably dying for another opportunity so whatever team they pick for the first Test, sure it's got to play against India, but also I'd like to see the bulk of that team be in England next year."
Taylor, Ian Chappell and Shane Warne all shared their views frankly ahead of the season. Chappell was particularly trenchant in stating that the current captain Clarke had underestimated the importance of getting his batting order right against Pakistan, notably by tossing Glenn Maxwell in at No. 3 for the second match in Abu Dhabi.
"If you've got a side that is struggling as a batting line-up then you better get them in the right order," Chappell said. "I can't believe the quote I saw from Michael the other day when he was asked about Shane Watson batting in the top order or batting at three, and he said 'I'm not so sure about the top order', I mean Shane Watson is the No. 3 as far as I'm concerned.
"The thing about Mitchell Marsh at six, one I think he's got a hell of a lot of potential, but two he'll take a lot of pressure off Shane Watson because Watson won't have to bowl. You can use him basically as a batsman, and he's a No. 3 in my book, or an opener - he's a bloody good player of pace bowling."
Warne spent four hours with Clarke on Sunday before commentating on the Twenty20 match at Stadium Australia, but said he remained mystified as to how Nathan Lyon had bowled against Pakistan, seeming to divert away from the methods that brought him success in England, Australia and South Africa.
"Nathan Lyon didn't bowl that well, for some reason he changed the way he was bowling, I don't know what he was told or why he bowled differently in those conditions," Warne said. "But I thought he was bowling really well before and I still think he's Australia's No. 1 spinner.
"But it's nice to see Adam Zampa coming through, we've got Cameron Boyce, I still think Fawad Ahmed's pretty good too, so it's good to see we've got a few legspinners out there as well as some left-armers."
Warne, Taylor and Chappell will all have had their fill of commentating on cricket by the time the World Cup has concluded on March 29, leaving open the question of how Australia will manage to maintain a sense of mental and physical freshness for this unusually back-ended season. Warne said finding the right balance between strong team selection and shrewd use of resources will be a major challenge.
"That's the trick," Warne said. "You want everyone to be playing every game they can for Australia, the best team they can every time. But the selectors and Michael Clarke have to be a little bit careful and also have a look towards the World Cup and the rest of what's up ahead. So it's a big summer, keep the guys fresh but everyone wants to play every game too. It's a balancing act."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig