There's nothing wrong with hyping up a big series, and obviously it turned out to be a huge success for cricket in general last year. I do agree however that if it leads to you writing off other significant series well before the big one because you are just preparing for the Ashes, it's a problem. If it was Bangladesh a month before Australia like last time, that's fine, but Pakistan four months out is a bit absurd.
Over here, there's been a bit of the "eye to the Ashes" stuff over the last couple of seasons, but I think there's less of it, and it's not harming Australia's performance or the attendances or interest in our games, so I don't think it's really such a problem. I think the last series before the Ashes last time, against New Zealand, did have a bit of a "warmup" feel about it, but in reality Australia didn't change their playing style or their selection policies or anything, so there wasn't a huge difference.
I think this time it's been fairly reasonable in Australia, and Australia's players seemed pretty focused on South Africa, and even said that was the first concern when interviewed and so on. Part of that might be beacause Australia lost last time. The desire to win back the Ashes is there, but before that could be done Australia needed to turn things around in general. The aim of the Australian team was to recover from the England loss and rebuild the side, and they did that fairly successfully. It was only when Bangladesh came along that we got some of the "looking forward to this being over so we can rest up and prepare for the Ashes" stuff in interviews.
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