England wicketkeeper Matt Prior is officially in Sydney to plug holes in the sinking ship that is the Sydney Thunder but admits to a reconnaissance mission with next year's blockbuster Ashes series in mind.
Prior, who is in line to debut for the Thunder in Friday night's Big Bash match against the Brisbane Heat, said he would be keeping an eye on Australia's series against Sri Lanka, which moves to Sydney for the third Test starting on January 3.
"I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be having a little watch (of the SCG Test) and do a bit of scouting and chat to a few people about a few things," Prior said soon after touching down in Sydney on Thursday.
"Ashes cricket is very, very exciting and it's a mouth-watering prospect coming up with the Aussies coming to England and us following (for a return series in Australia in November 2013) straight away."
Both countries are ramping up preparations for the highly-anticipated series starting in July in England next year, with Australia carefully managing their fragile fast bowling contingent by way of rotation and England lifting their game with their first Test series win in India since 1984-85.
Prior said that historic victory, as well as a brilliant performance from new captain Alastair Cook, had lifted the team to new heights ahead of their Australian challenge.
"It was a phenomenal performance in India," he said.
"Every member of the England team that went there were very, very proud.
"We've got to hang on to that confidence and use it going forward but things turn around very quickly.
"We've got to make sure that we use that as a platform to really push off and make sure that when we do face Australia we're in a very good place."
Much like Michael Clarke's imperious 2012 form, Cook too has seen a spike in his play since taking over the captaincy, making 1249 runs in 15 Test matches this year.
With potentially a second innings in the Boxing Day Test to come, Clarke has amassed an Australian-best 1595 this calendar year, while Cook scored three centuries against India - his first series since taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss.
He also blasted two centuries in his first two games as captain against Bangladesh in a previous series while Strauss was injured.
Prior said the battle of the two brilliant skippers would be a big factor in deciding the Ashes.
"It's massive. Your skipper leads in every way," he said.
"The way Cookie played and led in India was phenomenal.
"Sometimes you have guys that captain and lead in the dressing-room with Churchillian speeches and really motivate the guys and then you have other guys who go out there and do what needs to be done on the pitch.
"Cookie certainly did that."