A fortnight after being usurped in Australia's all-rounder pecking order, Moises Henriques has expressed his delight at being given a chance to resume his Test career on next month's tour of South Africa.
Henriques has benefited from the right-knee injury, and resulting arthroscopic surgery, that will rule James Faulkner out of at least the three Tests. While the 26-year-old expressed sympathy for Faulkner, he also said it was "pretty delightful" that after earlier this month being passed over for Daniel Christian at the start of the one-day series against England, when Shane Watson was rested, he has since been recalled to both the Twenty20 and Test squads.
"It's very unfortunate news for James but I guess that's the way cricket goes," Henriques said on Tuesday.
Faulkner was advised to undergo surgery on the injury he suffered in the Australia Day one-dayer against England. Selectors are hopeful he will be fit to join the Australia squad for the three Twenty20 matches following the three-Test series in South Africa, and will then take part in the World Twenty20 championships in Bangladesh in mid-March.
Faulkner's place for the imminent three-match Twenty20 series against England, which begins in Hobart on Wednesday night, has been taken by South Australian bowling all-rounder Kane Richardson.
Henriques was dropped from the one-day squad after the October-November series in India in which he was not used. Given he started badly on his return to Australia - he made only 56 runs in his first four Sheffield Shield innings - Henriques said he was relieved to have made 127 for NSW in December, against South Australia, just before the four-day competition was put on hold for the Big Bash League.
"It was big. Obviously when I came back from the Indian ODI tour I hadn't really done a great deal ... so it was nice to come out and put a big score on the board," he said.
Henriques' debut Test series early last year in India featured high highs and low lows. He made 68 and 81 not out on debut, but then made only seven runs in his next four innings, triggering his omission. He said scoring those two half-centuries against India in his first Tests had given him confidence that he was capable of thriving for Australia in the longest format.
"I certainly feel that my batting's progressed over the past couple of years, probably my cricket altogether. I'm learning a lot more about the game and actually putting it into practice. When I was younger I struggled to learn from mistakes and I feel like I'm learning quicker now," he said.
Henriques acknowledged there would be few similarities between the conditions and bowlers he encountered in India compared to what he would face in South Africa, if required. He said it was valuable to have been part of a Australia A tour to southern Africa last year, because he had not played long-form cricket there before. Henriques will fly to South Africa on Friday, although he said he was not expecting to be in immediate selection contention once he arrives.
"For the first Test, barring injury, you'd assume it would be a very similar line-up after winning five-nil," he said.
"I think it's a fantastic Test team. I've just got to make sure that I'm doing all the work off the field, that if there is a vacancy that I'm there ready to step up."