Steve O'Keefe is yet to entertain the idea of retirement, despite the high-profile departures of fellow Blues veterans Doug Bollinger and Ed Cowan during a tumultuous summer where NSW has failed to qualify for a Sheffield Shield final for a fourth straight season.
Ahead of Wednesday's final Shield match of the season, against Queensland in Wollongong, O'Keefe revealed the fire still burns just as fiercely as when he debuted as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in 2005, and that he also harbours an ambition to force his way back into the Australian side.
The 33-year-old left-arm tweaker certainly still has plenty to give. His 10 wickets against Victoria last week almost hauled the Blues to a season-saving win, before a NSW batting collapse on the final day scuppered their chance at a top-two finish.
And until O'Keefe stops performing with the ball, he sees no reason to join Bollinger and Cowan in drawing the curtain on their distinguished first-class careers.
"What's the R word? I wouldn't even know how to spell it yet," O'Keefe said.
"I know when that time comes, when there's a young kid who's good enough to come in and play, that's the way that it goes. The day when I feel like I'm not contributing or that passion goes then I'll happily stand aside.
"We've got some exciting talent here. We've got the likes of a Dan Fallins, we saw Param Uppal – who bowls beautiful off spin – who debuted in the last match, Jason Sangha's coming through the ranks, who bowls leggies. There's a lot of pressure on you as a player to go out and perform and do well each week.
"I want to see us win wherever we are and if that's in a team without me in it, then so be it. But at the moment I still feel like I'm performing and doing well and I still feel like I have aspirations to play for Australia, so no retirement just yet."
O'Keefe was overlooked for the role as back-up spinner to Nathan Lyon for the Test series being played in South Africa, the ankle syndesmosis injury suffered during the Big Bash season for the Sydney Sixers proving an untimely misfortune.
Injuries and off-field behavioural issues have sidelined O'Keefe more than he would have liked over the past two seasons, but when fit and firing the 33-year-old is still bowling as well as ever.
"I genuinely feel like I'm getting better, spin bowling's one of those things that the more you bowl the better you get," O'Keefe said.
"The thing you've got to hold yourself to is am I contributing to the team's wins and is that being reflected in performances, that's what I set out to do.
"I think at 33 I'm a better bowler than when I was 28 and when I was 23. At the moment I'm learning more, I have more worldly experience, and I certainly feel more comfortable and confident when I walk out there."
As for a possible Australian return?
"I haven't really given it too much thought to be honest, I'm comfortable with where I sit but I also know if you're doing well, if you're punching out back to back five fors, or batters hit hundreds and you're still playing Shield cricket then you'd like to think you give yourself every chance," O'Keefe said.
"At the moment Jon Holland has done that at Shield level and deserves his opportunity to be over there with the squad right now.
"Nathan Lyon I think has only gotten better and better and better. To get in that team as a second spinner with Nathan means that you have to be dominating. My way in is to take bags and bags of wickets and that's how I look at it."
The Blues have made one change to their 13-man squad ahead of the Queensland clash, with spinner Will Somerville coming in for the retired Cowan.