Ashes 2013/14: Australian series is 'ideal springboard for Test newcomers'
First-time Ashes tourists must grab every opportunity that comes their way...
Last Updated: 19/11/13 2:11pm
Three months later he returned home as a firm fixture in the team having amassed 420 runs, including a century in the second Test at Perth, in England's 5-1 series victory.
That tour, he believes, was the launch-pad for a long, illustrious international career that spanned 117 Tests and yielded over 8,000 runs.
Now as Michael Carberry, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and the uncapped trio of Gary Ballance, Boyd Rankin and Ben Stokes prepare for their first Ashes series Down Under, Gower says each must seize their chance if a Test opportunity comes their way.
"The history and aura of the Ashes is such that anyone born in England or Australia who is into their cricket would love to play in the Ashes," said the Sky Cricket presenter.
"So when you are 21 years old and playing in your first one, as I did - even if it was against a slightly under-strength Australian side because of the World Series - it's a big moment.
"Australia were without Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, and the Chappells but they did have Rodney Hogg, who was every bit as quick as Lillee and did some severe damage. It was still the Ashes and still good competition.
"Luckily for me I started the series well - the hundred at Perth was one of those memorable days. I've seen clips of it since and relived the commentary as I approach 100.
"It was special because when you first go down there you want to win them over, you want to impress and you want to win the Ashes - and we achieved all of those things. It must have set me up because a lot of my happiest memories - and one or two of my worst memories - come from Ashes series!"
Like Gower - who got his first taste of playing in Australia as a 20-year-old with Claremont-Cottesloe CC - England's newer players won't find conditions Down Under entirely alien.
During the last Ashes series Root attended the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy and played for Prospect District CC, while Stokes and Bairstow were with the England Performance Programme XI in Australia and earlier this year Ballance was part of the England Lions team that toured Down Under.
Gower is convinced that such experiences can only be beneficial.
"There were several good things about going to Claremont-Cottesloe, or Claremont-Nedlands as it is now," he said. "I was 20 years old, it was the first time I'd been to Australia, I was on my own. It was the first time I'd been called a 'Pom' aggressively.
"There are so many skills that you learn in the space of something like four months Down Under. First of all, you've got to fend for yourself, which is quite important when you look ahead to Ashes series, because when you're a batsman in the middle of the MCG, SCG or the WACA you are on your own.
"The standard of cricket was good and what happened after not a particularly slow start, as I gained confidence and got runs, I earned respect. It does help prepare you.
"When you go back Down Under, which I did pretty soon after that a year or so later for my first Test series down there, you are familiar with Australia and the way they work.
"I hadn't been to the East but Perth was a good enough start. You know the way that they play their cricket and behave on the field, so you are more prepared.
"The same goes for a Test match; whatever they say to you when you walk out to bat, if you are still there three or four hours later making runs it will have gone quiet. That's an absolute given.
"The extra added benefit was that by going down there and getting some runs and growing up within myself as well, I went back to England for the start of next season ready and willing to play in good nick.
"I started the season well and that's when I got into the England side. It was a really good springboard."
David Gower's autobiography, 'An Endangered Species', is published by Simon and Schuster and is available in hardback and on Kindle.
Stay up or catch up - watch England's defence of the Ashes in Australia this winter ONLY on Sky Sports, starting with the first Test from 11pm this Wednesday on Sky Sports 2.