Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade reckons his move from Tasmania to Victoria to play Sheffield Shield cricket has played a key role in his rise to the Australian Test side.
Speaking ahead of Australia's first Test against the West Indies starting on Saturday, Wade said he learnt a lot about himself by leaving his home state and testing himself in a new environment.
"We've seen a lot of players in the last few years move states and do really well," Wade said.
"Ed (Cowan) and Peter (Forrest) who are on these tours and I think it's a good thing to get away from your comfort zone and go out there and really fend for yourself."
Wade will make his Test debut for Australia against the West Indies and the 24-year-old reflected on his initial period in Victoria as a key time in his cricket education.
"I think that's probably the toughest time that I've found in cricket was the first, you know, five or six Shield games to really find out what my game was and what I needed to do to perform at that level," Wade said.
Wade did not play in Australia's eight-wicket warm-up win against the West Indies Cricket Board President's XI but believes the match was good preparation for the touring side.
"Our top order batters got a couple of hits there and obviously our bowlers got to bowl as well," Wade said.
"So I think although it was low scoring at times, the bowlers, especially, got exactly what they probably needed, leading into the Test match."
Although Saturday's Test will be the first of his career, Wade argued that, as the wicketkeeper, his performance would set the standard for the team.
And the debutant did admit to some nerves.
"Yeah, trying not to think about it too much, obviously," Wade said.
"I'll lose a bit of sleep otherwise but just excited."
"I want to get to Saturday as quick as I can and get out there and do what I do best, which is play cricket."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 05 April, 2012 10:40AM AEDT