SYDNEY - England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss was encouraged by the performance of his new charges in their recent encounters with New Zealand and thinks they have every chance of winning the Ashes if they can keep producing good cricket.
The Australian, appointed coach last month, left his homeland on Wednesday but has clearly been keeping tabs on England from Sydney, even if he has not yet swopped the "they" for "we" when referring to the team.
England split a Test series 1-1 with the Black Caps before recovering from a 1-2 deficit to win a thrilling one-day series, finishing with a flourish with a triumph in the sole Twenty20 International.
"It's been quite exciting, the series against New Zealand, the Tests and the one-dayers... got some new, young players in there with plenty of skill, plenty of enthusiasm," he told Fox Sports TV at Sydney airport.
"So it sounds like they're in a good place, looks like they're enjoying themselves out in the field and that's the main thing."
Bayliss, the former coach of New South Wales, said his first task in the pre-Ashes training camp in Spain would be to get to know the players and then put together some plans for the series against Australia, which begins in Cardiff on July 8.
"I'm confident of putting up a good show and if they play some good cricket, there'll be a chance of winning."
As always, much pride is at stake in the five-Test Ashes series, with Australia looking for a first triumph on English soil since 2001 and the hosts hoping to erase the memory of their 0-5 humiliation Down Under in 2013-14.
Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are among the Australians to have played under Bayliss at New South Wales but he does not think that his inside knowledge will prove decisive.
The 52-year-old was inevitably asked about the position of batsman Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out of participating in the series by England's director of cricket Andrew Strauss because of "trust issues".
"Look, apparently, he's unavailable for selection so that's all I know at this stage," Bayliss said.