Tim Paine revealed he was dreaming about the Ashes as early as last year and feels Australia proved in its whitewash of Sri Lanka that it can "beat anyone in the world".
Australia responded to its home series defeat by India with an emphatic 2-0 hammering of Sri Lanka, winning the second Test in Canberra by 366 runs, with Mitchell Starc claiming match figures of 10-100.
England will be Australia's next opponent in the longest format and captain Paine says he has been thinking about defending the urn for months.
Asked when he would start thinking about the Ashes, the skipper said: "About six months ago... I've been dreaming about it, actually.
"I'm happy now that we've got this out of the way. I can put everything into it because every Australian cricketer can't wait to go and play an Ashes series and particularly in England.
"It's something that I've certainly dreamed of as a kid. I didn't think I'd be going over as the captain, but in the back of my mind I've been thinking about it, I've been watching England, keeping a really close eye on them, I can't wait to get over there.
"I've got a fair idea what it [Australia's squad] might look like. But I'm not a selector, so I get asked my input. But I think they would have a pretty good picture of what it would look like.
"What we've seen over this summer is that we've now started to build a squad with plenty of depth. So, there's probably anywhere between 16 and 20 players now that we think are in the mix, a really good place to be."
Playing as a team
Paine thinks Australia proved it competes with the best with the way it dismantled Sri Lanka.
He added: "Honestly, we were quite disappointed with the way we played against India. I think the differences between the two series were that our ability to bowl as a group against India wasn't quite there at times.
"Whether that's because Virat [Kohli] and [Cheteshwar] Pujara were more patient than us and forced our bowlers out of their plans, but I thought we turned it around in this series with a real focus on bowling for each other and playing cricket as a team.
"Obviously you need individual performances to win moments, but overall the stronger our team can be and the more that we play for each other – this series, or Sri Lanka and the way that we played in these last two Test matches – I think we can beat anyone in the world."
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