Discarded 'keeper-batsman offers casual reminder to selectors after stunning hundred...
As Australia's incumbent ODI wicketkeeper prepared to fly out of the country last Wednesday night, the summer campaign of the man who hopes to replace him for next year's World Cup had already taken off.
Matthew Wade's 65-ball century in the JLT One-Day Cup, the seventh-fastest in tournament history and the fastest by a Tasmanian, enhanced his hopes of a national recall and paved the way for his side's first-up win against Victoria.
The Tigers cruised to victory by 65 runs in Townsville, but it's yet to be seen if Wade can turn his bright early-season form into a return to Australia's one-day side.
The identity of Australia's gloveman for their World Cup defence, which gets underway in less than nine months, appears to be a race in three between incumbent Tim Paine, young gun Alex Carey and veteran Wade.
Australia's 0-5 hammering in England earlier this year and Paine's lack of runs in that series could mean the end of his brief stint in the role, although he has expressed a strong desire to continue.
While inexperienced, Carey has so impressed selectors in his rookie international year, that he was elevated to the vice-captaincy of the national T20 side less than four months after pulling on Australian colours for the first time.
And then there's Wade, who is keen to remind the selectors who discarded him 12 months ago that his run-making credentials – at least on paper – are superior to those of his two rivals; in his past eight innings across all formats, he has four hundreds.
"I'd love to play at the World Cup and that's something I'm striving towards," he told cricket.com.au
"I was disappointed to get dropped from the one-day team (last year), I thought I'd put some pretty solid years together.
"Others will get their chances ... I think Alex Carey is going to be a terrific cricketer, but I feel like I'm playing as well as anyone in the country at the moment.
"I hear a lot of talk about players making hundreds and in one-day cricket I've made plenty of hundreds, probably more than most wicketkeeper-batters in the country.
"So if they want to pick me, I'm ready to go."
While Wade's century on Wednesday came as an opener, the fact he's experienced batting in the lower order also provides him with a point of difference to both Paine and Carey.
With Aaron Finch a certainty to bat at the top at the World Cup and David Warner a strong chance to return as his opening partner, Wade sees no way in for a wicketkeeper to open the batting.
And given the majority of his 94 ODIs have come batting at No.6 or lower, whereas Paine and Carey have played most of their one-day cricket as openers, Wade believes that gives him an edge.
"You're not going to get a look in at the top of the order, that's for sure," he says.
"Where the wicketkeeper is going to bat, I feel like I've got the power to bat in that position."
Even if he falls short of his World Cup dream, Wade says he would happily retire from the top level with a Baggy Green cap, three international centuries and more than 2,700 runs to his name.
A shift home to his native Tasmania last year has contributed to a more balanced outlook on life, where his wife, young daughter and a career after cricket – he spent time this year working as an apprentice carpenter in Hobart – have come into sharper focus.
But that's not to say he won't just fade into the background without a fight.
"I'm really comfortable with where I'm at outside cricket," he says.
"I'd absolutely walk away satisfied with what I've done at the next level.
"I just don't want to walk away giving up all hope and cruising through the last three or four years of my career. I want to make sure I give it every crack.
"Whether I get picked or not, it didn't faze me too much - I don't wake up every morning wanting to get picked for the Australian cricket team.
"I just want to be as good a player as I can be."