Champions Trophy offers Aussies chance to get Ashes ready
FANS may howl in protest when they look at the packed calendar and notice it has thrown up a Champions Trophy one-day tournament on the eve of this year's big Ashes showdown in England - but don't be concerned.
If anything, the series might be a help rather than a hindrance to Australia because it is being played in the UK.
The Champions Trophy is open to the top eight one-day sides and has three matches in early to mid-June, before the semis and a final.
The Australian one-day team is quite different to the Test side anyway, but any match practice in England conditions will be valuable for our guys.
I will be really interested to see if the Poms try and tailor at least a couple of their pitches to take a fair bit of spin for the Ashes, given our problems in India.
I'm trying not to think too much about the Ashes. It would be a dream to play in a series in England, but I can't afford to focus on that because I've had letdowns before.
My sole aim is to stay fit and healthy, and if I bowl well enough I'll get picked.
I've got the IPL starting virtually straight after the Shield final and I'm obviously looking forward to both.
It is a big bonus that Bulls coach Boof Lehmann is now coaching the Kings XI Punjab after the Deccan Chargers lost their licence.
He and Adam Gilchrist, the Kings XI captain, are great mates and will provide a great environment for the team.
If the team can harness some of the culture we have in the Queensland Bulls camp, then we'll be flying.
As we head into day two of the Shield final here in Tassie, this group of players has an unshakeable belief that anything is possible.
Basically, everyone contributes - it's been that way ever since I have been here.
I still find it amazing that I can come back from injury and play in two finals, thanks to my teammates, and I'll be busting my gut to find another 10% improvement in Hobart after finding my groove against WA last week.