England captain Michael Vaughan has already started talking about next year's Ashes, while Kevin Pietersen believes the greatest threat facing the team this season will come from South Africa.
At this rate, England are in danger of letting future challenges distract them from the immediate task of playing New Zealand in a three-Test series which starts at Lord’s today.
Yet New Zealand’s hopes of catching England cold have been severely dented by an international fixture schedule which saw the two sides playing each other as recently as March.
In the first match of that series New Zealand beat England by 189 runs in Hamilton only for Vaughan’s men to recover and take the series 2-1.
Since then, New Zealand have seen long-serving captain Stephen Fleming retire from international cricket. As much as they may miss his tactical acumen, they are equally likely to miss his runs.
Not once during the March series did New Zealand’s openers manage a 50 partnership, putting immense pressure on the middle-order.
Their line-up at Lord’s is set to feature two debutant batsmen in opener Aaron Redmond, son of one-cap wonder Rodney, and Daniel Flynn.
At least Otago batsman Redmond comes into this game in good form after a century and a fifty in New Zealand’s tour match against the England Lions, the national “A” side, last week.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s cause hasn’t been helped by the injury captain Daniel Vettori has sustained to his spinning finger.
Long regarded as one of the most effective left-arm slow bowlers in the world, Vettori is neverthless still set to lead a youthful side, where pace bowler Tim Southee will be appearing in only his second Test.
But the key for New Zealand is likely to be whether or not their batsmen can give their bowlers enough runs to play with.
New Zealand have dynamic middle-order batsmen in wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Jacob Oram but they have not always been as effective in Test cricket as they are in one-dayers.
England are unchanged from the team that won the third Test in Hamilton by 189 runs with James Anderson seeing off the challenge to his place from fellow seamer Matthew Hoggard, recalled to the squad after being dropped from the team that lost the first Test in Napier.
All-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who hasn’t played Test cricket for over a year, has been ruled out with a side strain.
That will mean the burden of leading the attack will once again fall on left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom, whose 24 wickets in New Zealand were a pivotal difference between the two sides.
“Sidebottom bowled beautifully in New Zealand and we will have to combat him if we are to stand any chance of even being competitive in the series,” said New Zealand great Sir Richard Hadlee, the first bowler to take 400 Test wickets.
But for all New Zealand’s well documented top-order problems, England’s batting has often proved fallible too.
Vaughan averaged just over 20 in New Zealand and has dropped back down to No. 3.
That has allowed Andrew Strauss, who revived his ailing Test career with a century in Napier,to return to the opening slot.
Back in 2004, England beat New Zealand 3-0. There wasn’t much talk about the Ashes then — the hype grew as a result of England’s performances. As Peter Moores approaches his first anniversary as England coach he knows the time is nearing where his team will have to move on from the accurate assessment of their current status by New Zealand seamer Chris Martin.