London: England captain Joe Root has warned his team’s emerging young stars to expect a barrage of abuse “which hits you like a train" when they face old rivals Australia.
For the likes of Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones and Mason Crane, England’s Test series against the West Indies, which starts on Thursday, represents a golden chance to seal a first Ashes trip later this year.
Root can’t wait to lock horns with Australia on their own turf, but he knows the hostile reception from the Australian public can prove challenging for English cricketers.
The England batsman admits his own experiences in 2013/14 — when England were whitewashed and he was dropped for the only time in his career — left a lasting impression.
“I think it’s important to warn them. You don’t want to go out there and it just hit you like a train," Root said.
“You want to make sure you’re fully aware of what’s coming your way.
“I was slightly surprised. I thought they might give us a bit of banter but it was a bit more than that.
“There were a few chants from the crowd that were quite personal at times, quite offensive.
“It was very hostile, quite aggressive at times on and off the field."
While Root is aware of what lies in store for England, he doesn’t believe his side should fear the experience and urged them to revel in the electric atmosphere.
“The thing to remember, even if it doesn’t seem it at the time, is it’s generally in good spirit and they’re just trying to create an atmosphere for their side," he said.
“When you get a full house and it’s rocking and the crowd are involved it makes a very entertaining spectacle to watch and also to play in.
“It’s great if you can go out there with everyone against you and put in a match-winning performance."
Root is a different player and a different man to the one who was scorched by the heat of Ashes battle four years ago.
With the bat he has averaged 59.42 since being stood down for the Sydney Test, making 10 of his 12 career hundreds.
With all that in mind he is happy to take his share of slings and arrows this time around, if there are any to spare once the crowd are finishing with their old sparring partner Stuart Broad.
“We all like a pantomime villain. Certain characters like Stuart thrive on that, so hopefully they pick a good villain who enjoys it and it works to our advantage," Root said.
“You can’t choose who they pick on but it’s a challenge Test cricket throws up on occasion. If you’re going to survive in it you have to find a way to deal with it."