As a 13-year-old in 2006-07, Ollie Robinson bunked off a week of school to spend Christmas out in Australia and watch Andrew Flintoff's team get crushed in three of the five Tests of that winter's Ashes whitewash. He's back 15 years later with rather more uplifting recent memories of life Down Under, after his starring role in England Lions' victory over Australia A two winters ago, a performance which he hopes can help him continue an impressive start to his Test career.
Memories are all that any of England's players have got to fall back on ahead of the Brisbane Test on Wednesday, after an extraordinary build-up - dominated on the one hand by their quarantine period on the Gold Coast, and by torrential rain on the other, as their intended seven days of intra-squad practice were reduced to two and a bit of glorified nets.
And yet, Robinson believes his 12 wicketless overs on the penultimate day of that warm-up period will stand him in good enough stead for the Gabba, and better even than their Australian opponents, who have yet to have any meaningful red-ball cricket since their white-ball players returned from victory in the T20 World Cup last month.
"It's obviously not ideal preparation but, as a group, we feel we've made do with what we've been given," Robinson said. "We feel in a good place, and we feel ahead of the Aussies which is the main thing. They were at the World Cup and in quarantine so they are probably a few weeks behind us. We feel like we have some good work in us since being here and hopefully that will give us the edge in the first Test."
Though he is still a rookie in international terms - and certainly compared to his senior seam partners, James Anderson and Stuart Broad - Robinson nevertheless turned 28 at the start of the month, and believes he's long enough in the tooth to know his own game in spite of the limited preparation time.
"It's changed as I've got older," he said. "I've learnt about my body and that I can get bowling ready in different ways. I've done a lot more running here than bowling outdoors just because of the weather, and I feel like I've learnt a bit more about how to get ready, really. I've taken note from Jimmy and Broady, they have done a lot of Test series and situations like this. I've done it differently this time but I feel ready to take it on."
Although England's original bowling plans for the Ashes have had to be scrapped due to the absence of prospective pace spearheads such as Jofra Archer and Olly Stone, Robinson has long seemed assured of a starting berth at the Gabba - both due to the excellence of his maiden summer in England colours, in which he claimed 28 wickets at 19.60 in five Tests against New Zealand and India, and due to his seven-wicket showing in the unofficial Test win over Australia A at Melbourne in March 2020.