The soap opera that has been Australian cricket will take another twist on Wednesday when Brad Haddin is confirmed as the new Test vice-captain, raising implications for the short-term future of Matthew Wade.
Haddin has been rubber-stamped to replace Shane Watson as Michael Clarke's right-hand man for the upcoming Ashes series and now appears to have the inside running to don the gloves for the first Test against England.
National selector John Inverarity and Clarke will explain the decision when Australia's Ashes squad is announced in Sydney at a function where former captains Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh will also be present.
Haddin's return to the job he held temporarily in the 2011-12 summer places in jeopardy Wade's berth in the Test XI, although the incumbent will be named in the Ashes touring party.
Despite two centuries from his first 12 Tests, the Victorian failed to slam the door on his competitors and his position was weakened by a substandard performance with the gloves in India.
Haddin's international career appeared all but finished last year but he has returned to favour when a leadership void was exposed in India after the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.
Haddin has a solid relationship with Clarke, and his return will strengthen the link to a happier time.
Victorian opener Chris Rogers and Shaun Marsh were late contenders for a batting spot, but would probably have to unseat Usman Khawaja to seal a place.
There was a hitch in Australia's plans when swing specialist Ben Hilfenhaus was sent home from the IPL on the eve of the squad announcement with a recurrence of knee tendonitis.
But the Ashes squad to be unveiled amid much gravitas at Sydney's Royal Mint will tell only part of the story anyway.
The original plan was to name 17, but it now appears more likely the squad will be scaled back to 16.
However, the selectors retain the flexibility to add players on the strength of Australia A performances or, in the case of refugee spinner Fawad Ahmed, pending the outcome of his quest for citizenship.
''Cricket Australia and government are really hopeful, but it's a matter of time and we have to wait,'' Pakistan-raised Ahmed told Fairfax Media.
''Changing the rules is not that easy. I studied political science and international relations so I know, but we are looking forward and we are pretty hopeful.''
Though rookie spinner Ashton Agar has impressed, it's unclear whether there will be a second spinner in the squad. Agar will be in England anyway, as one of six Cricket Australia scholars stationed with Hampshire's academy program.
The Australia A squad will contain Test specialists not in the Champions Trophy squad along with emerging players.
Fast bowling is the one discipline in which the selectors are spoilt for choice, and the squads will reflect the desire to have as many quicks in contention for England's seam-friendly pitches as possible.
Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Jackson Bird and Hilfenhaus are likely to fill the Ashes places, with James Faulkner in contention for an all-rounder's berth.
The likes of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and South Australian outswing bowler Chadd Sayers are jostling for Australia A spots.
A second Australia A tour, to South Africa, coincides with the Ashes and is close enough for players to be on call if disaster strikes in England.
Cummins, who tantalised in his one Test in November 2011 but has been injured virtually ever since, bowled with heat at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane this week.
He hopes to make a long-awaited comeback on one of the Australia A tours and his management is exploring options for a stint in English league cricket.
''It would be a big call to throw the kid straight into an Ashes series on the back of no cricket, and I think even Paddy realises that. He is prepared to work his way back through the system,'' said Cummins' manager, Dom Thornely.
Possible squad: Clarke (c), Haddin (vc), Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Marsh, Smith, Wade, Lyon, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Bird, Hilfenhaus