Australia A batsman Alex Doolan celebrates a century against South Africa earlier this summer. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Tasmanian Alex Doolan says he's as ready as he'll ever be for a Test call-up and credits an off-season with Ricky Ponting as the catalyst for his breakthrough summer.
Doolan can take a giant leap towards booking his place in the Australian team with a big score for the Chairman's XI in the three-day tour match against Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval, starting on Thursday.
Ponting rates Doolan as a bolter to fill his shoes for the start of the three-Test series with Sri Lanka at Hobart's Blundstone Arena next week, with one of Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes or Rob Quiney favoured to get the nod.
All three have already had a taste of the Test arena, but Khawaja is the only one of the trio who will get a final crack at pressing his claims in Canberra.
While Doolan is a $17 outsider with bookmakers, he won't be overawed if presented with his maiden baggy green on his home ground.
''I feel like I'm as ready as I'll ever be,'' Doolan said.
''I've got a lot of confidence in my game, but I guess you never know when you get to Test cricket.
''It can be a really fickle game in a lot of ways, but I feel like I'm prepared pretty well and if I did get the call-up I'd give it my best shot.''
Results in the first-class arena this season suggest the 27-year-old wouldn't look out of place at Test level.
Doolan has racked up 570 runs at the impressive average of 81.43 with two centuries, the most recent of those coming for Australia A against South Africa.
Taking on a near full-strength pace attack featuring Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Doolan rattled off an unbeaten 161 at the SCG.
''That 161 was a really nice feeling to know I could do it against the best, but it's a long road ahead,'' he said.
''Hopefully that month wasn't just a fluke and I can continue to put good scores on the board and keep my name up there as a future Test prospect.''
Doolan made his first-class debut for Tasmania in 2008-09. During the recent off-season, he had the benefit of training alongside Ponting, who fine-tuned his game with the state squad while the Australian team was involved in one-day internationals and the Twenty20 World Cup.
''I definitely changed the way I trained,'' Doolan said.
''He's an ultimate professional in every sense of the word and trains harder than anyone else.
''That was something I really took out of having him around. Having an extended involvement with him this pre-season has been invaluable and something that I'll really cherish.''
Both the Chairman's XI and Sri Lanka will train at Manuka on Wednesday.
Tasmanian fast bowler Sam Rainbird, 20, is a late addition to the Chairman's XI in place of injured South Australian quick Chadd Sayers.
Three-day tour match: Chairman's XI v Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval. Play starts at 10.30am. Tickets at the gate.