England captain Andrew Flintoff believes that his side's upcoming defence of the Ashes in Australia could be "the biggest series ever" in cricket history.
Flintoff, speaking as the team flew out from Heathrow Airport in London on Friday for Sydney ahead of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane on November 23, was the star of the 2005 Ashes with 402 runs and 24 wickets in England's 2-1 series victory.
That represented England's first series success against Australia in 19 years sparked a huge surge in cricket interest in the land of its birth.
But Flintoff said he wasn't sure if the same sense of 'Ashes fever' that gripped the British sporting public a year ago could ever be recaptured.
"It is going to be tough. We know that 2005 was something special and whether that can be recreated I am not quite sure," said the Lancashire pace bowler and hard-hitting batsman.
"In England each Test match got bigger and bigger and we got a real feeling of what the Ashes was about."
"It was the first time I had played in them and this is the first time I will have played an Ashes series in Australia; so too for a few of the lads and there is a real excitement."
"This is the reason we play. We are going over there to play in what could be the biggest series ever so there is an excited group of lads."
Australia, revitalised by a run of 11 wins in 12 Test since the Ashes are likely to provide likely to provide an even sterner challenge for England on home soil.