A decade ago, the strength of Australia's cricketing rivalry with England was starting to be questioned.
The focus was shifting to India and there was even talk of whether England were worthy of anything more than a three-Test series.
Listening to Shane Watson talk before Friday's one-day series opener at Lord's was a reminder of how times have changed.
The allrounder grew up in a time of plenty when winning the Ashes in England was considered a birthright for an Australian cricketer.
After Ashes defeats in 2005 and 2009, the quest has turned into a crusade.
On the eve of a five-match one-day series, Watson expressed his "burning desire" to play in an Ashes-winning side and use the current 50-over tour for reconnaissance.
"Any time you play against England, you want success," he said.
"It is the ultimate rivalry and the ultimate challenge for an Australian cricketer, to play against England and win.
"I haven't been a part of that in Test matches and now is a time to be able to put some things in place so we can have some success when we come back here during the Ashes.
"We can learn about the cricket we need to play to beat the English over here."
Watson revealed the depth of his feelings when he described playing against England as not just a cricket experience but a life experience.
"It is a very good feeling when you beat the English and it is the worst feeling when you lose to the English," he said.
About half of Australia's players on tour have not played a one-day international in England and it is invaluable for young guns such as James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Matthew Wade to soak up the experience.
With Ricky Ponting not around, the national one-day team only has one Ashes winner in England in its ranks in Brett Lee.
Given that, Watson admitted it was important for the Australian players to start creating some happy memories and positive vibes about the grey island.
"There is no doubt about that to leave the shores having played some very good cricket," he said.
"That is what we are looking for. That is the reason we are here."
Watson said Australia had set their sights on exposing England's bowler-heavy batting line-up at the home of cricket on Friday.
England successfully employed four quicks and a spinner this month against the West Indies in recording their sixth straight one-day series win on home soil.
The hosts are expected to boast a formidable bowling attack in Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steve Finn and Graeme Swann at Lord's.
Watson hinted that strength could be turned into a weakness if Australia were able to collect some early scalps at the home of cricket.
"If we are able to make inroads into their batting line-up, they might be one batsman short," Watson said.