The build-up ahead of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston has begun which is great - the banter between both camps certainly appears to be flowing.

We are full of confidence as a cricketing nation after our World Cup win which, of course, came in dramatic style with Cumbrian Ben Stokes crucial to our super-over success against New Zealand in the final.

As for Australia, for a team of their ability, they probably under-performed slightly at the World Cup as they fell to an eight-wicket semi-final loss at the hands of England in their semi-final.

Opener Jason Roy led England’s run-chase in that match with 85, before Joe Root and Eoin Morgan saw them home with 49 not out out and 45 not out, respectively.

So, I’m sure the Australians will have something to prove. The Ashes inspires every Englishmen and every Australian, so I’m sure an exciting series lies ahead, with the series set to start tomorrow.

After our World Cup success, I’m certain that will have been in England’s managing director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles’ thoughts when he helped to select England’s 14-man squad for the first Test last week.

In my opinion, the scare England suffered in their one-off Test against Ireland showed how difficult it is to go from one format to another in cricket.

County players have to do this regularly. They go from white-ball cricket to red-ball cricket within a couple of days and, sometimes, in the space of just a day. It shows how hard it is.

Techniques batsmen need to use in white-ball cricket in one-day matches and red-ball cricket are very different. A white ball tends to do very little for a few overs, with there maybe being a little bit of sideways movement.

So, there is minimal movement with the white ball compared to what you face when against the red ball which provides a lot of exaggerated movement, especially in the first morning of a four-day county game or at the start of a Test match.

For me, Stuart Broad really put his name in the hat for a starting spot in the success against Ireland as he took seven wickets across the game in England’s 143-run victory at Lord’s. You can’t beat tall bowlers hitting the pitch hard. In big games, you need big-match players and Broad, for me, is a big-match player.

He is now one of the most experienced campaigners in the England side alongside Jimmy Anderson and the Nottinghamshire all-rounder seems fit, fresh and ready, and I think he will lift his performance once again in the Ashes.

It’s exciting to have the kind of options we do in our seam attack, though. We have had a good seam attack for a few years now.

The youngsters, like Olly Stone and Jofra Archer who now has had a taste of international cricket, are certainly improving and they are pushing closer and closer to breaking into the Test team. In fact, I have every confidence Archer will play.

Sadly, the weather forecast is not amazing this week, which is really disappointing so maybe then, if there is a lot of cloud around, whoever wins the toss should look to bowl. At Edgbaston, it usually turns a little bit as the match goes on, but it’s usually a nice pitch and, in general, is a good cricket wicket.

But with there potentially being a bit of cloud around, I think whoever wins the toss should probably look to bowl. The pitch will possibly be a little bit damp, and the players could be on and off a lot, which can be tough for batsmen.

After Australia claimed a 4-0 win over England in the last Ashes series, it seems a lot of people are expecting a closer series this time around, but you never know. Sometimes, in English conditions, Australian batsmen have struggled and they might have to make quite a few adjusts to be successful.

Kent batsman Joe Denly says he has been told he will bat at number four for England in their first Test, with Test captain Root in the number three slot, which will be a big challenge for Denly.

But the 33-year-old is an experienced player on the county circuit, having spent most of his career at Kent but also having represented Middlesex, as well. He is in the form of his life and he is a strong character with belief in his own game.

So, it’s the perfect opportunity for himself now to go out and define himself as an international cricketer.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft - the three players involved in Australia’s ball-tampering incident in South Africa last year - are back in their squad. Bancroft has been playing very well for Durham this year.

I think he has been the difference for them this year, with the way he has gone about his business really lifting those around him.

I think he has got used to English conditions well and he has moved on from his misdemeanour, and the game will now judge him in Test-match cricket. But he is a fine player. He is in a good place and his preparations could not have gone any better.

Tim Paine, though, will be the man given the task of leading the Baggy Greens as they try to retain the Ashes. Being skipper will test him mentally and physically, with what being captain of either nation means in the Ashes.

So, the 34-year-old does have a huge role to play for the Australians, but he is somebody I have always liked as a cricketer and someone I have always admired as a cricketer. As a keeper, you can make a lot of mistakes during the course of a five-day game, but he will need to stand up those all those challenges as Australia captain.

In terms of how the pitch usually plays at Edgbaston, there is generally a good bounce and the pitch is usually, not necessarily quick, but a nice-paced pitch. It will definitely turn from the third or the fourth day onwards.

That means the pitch will help to bring everybody into the game, so that is why both teams need to ensure they have a well-balanced side.

But a lot will also depend on the weather. If there is a lot of rain around, then I would expect that the seam attacks will be the ones who will need to do the majority of the work.