Former Australian opener Cameron Bancroft has declared he is ready to return to the Test arena with the upcoming Prime Minister's XI clash shaping as the perfect launch pad.
The batter has endured a torrid three years since his last Test against England during the 2019 Ashes.
Bancroft has not represented his country since he was dropped after the second match but David Warner's upcoming retirement has left the door open for a return.
The 37-year-old intends to play the opening three Tests of the summer before ending his red-ball career on his home turf at the SCG.
Selectors are planning to use next month's four-day Prime Minister's XI clash against Pakistan as a shootout for Warner's position, with Bancroft one of three batters in the mix.
The 31-year-old is set to be named alongside Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw in the team expected to be unveiled on Thursday.
Bancroft has made no secret of his desire to make the opener position his own and on numbers alone should be the frontrunner.
"I don't deny that like every player in the country I would love an opportunity to play for Australia again," he said.
"That is certainly is one of my goals.
"But when I walk out, I'm purely focused and present on what can I do for the team today."
For so long a more relaxed event, the Prime Minister's XI has morphed into a genuine selection trial since becoming a four-day fixture last summer.
Emerging spinner Todd Murphy used the game as a platform for a Test call-up on this year's tour of India and 2022 captain Josh Inglis played a key role in Australia's recent World Cup triumph.
Cameron Green will use this season's Prime Minister's XI clash as a key lead-in game to the opening Test of the summer in Perth with experienced bowler Michael Neser also likely to be named for the clash at Manuka Oval.
An Australian recall would end three years in the wilderness for Bancroft, with the opener revealing earlier this summer he hoped he had paid his dues for sandpapergate, after attracting headlines again for comments around the saga in 2021.
He was the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield last summer, and tops the charts this season with 505 runs at an average of 63.12 with one round to go before the BBL break.
"The more you play, hopefully the more you improve," Bancroft said.
"If an opportunity presents itself, I'd like to think that I've improved my game. But I understand that it's a long journey as well.
"I'm still learning. I'm just trying to keep that mindset there. It gives you space for growth and perspective. And I think that's really important in cricket."
Bancroft's runs put him ahead of rivals Renshaw (305 at 33.88) and Harris (273 at 39) in this summer's Shield, with both showing spurts of form.
Bancroft averaged 30.92 in his first eight Tests before the ball-tampering scandal, but like all openers struggled to handle the swinging Dukes ball in the 2019 Ashes.
"The moving ball is hard work. It's not easy to play. You need a bit of luck," he said.
"I try and go out and do my best and hopefully learn from the experiences that have come, like that one. And try and be a better player for it moving forward."
We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.