Forgotten fast bowler Ryan Harris made a significant step on his road to consideration for this year's Ashes tour on Saturday as Queensland claimed a six-wicket Ryobi Cup victory over Victoria.
Former Test star Harris, playing his first match for the Bulls this summer, showed flashes of his best in an opening spell that yielded Bushrangers opener Rob Quiney's wicket - caught in the slips during his second over.
But the injury-plagued 33-year-old tired rapidly and only bowled seven overs across two stints before finishing with 1-30.
"It was good to get an early wicket, put the ball in the right spot and get a bit of swing and I had a little bit of pace there as well, but I obviously ran out of puff fairly quickly," Harris told Fox Sports.
The burly right-armer played the last of his 12 Tests on the West Indies tour last April but has since been dogged by a string of injuries that have kept him sidelined, including hip and shoulder ailments.
He had onlookers at the MCG fearing he had suffered yet another setback when he left the field to receive treatment following his opening spell.
Thankfully it was for nothing more serious than heat exhaustion and leg cramps.
"That's all it was. I haven't bowled a lot for the last three weeks to a month. It was a bit hot and I do sweat a bit, so that's all it was, just come off and get my calves rubbed," he said.
"Hopesy [Bulls captain James Hopes] kept coming to me and asking me to bowl, but I couldn't - every time I chased the ball I was quite sore.
"All it is now is bowling and do a little bit of running to get the conditioning I need.
"It's about getting that energy back up ... and hopefully in a week-and-a-half's time, I'll take it back into a Shield game."
His comeback would not have been lost on national selectors, who would love to have him at their disposal for the 10 Test matches against England to be played away and at home over the next 12 months.
"It's a very small step today. It's something that's in the back of my mind, I want to be a part of the Ashes squads whether it's over there or back here," said Harris, who boasts a Test average of 23.63.
"But it's a long way away. All I'm focusing on now is getting back into Shield cricket.
"I'll use the winter if there's any cricket available to go and play somewhere to keep going. It's in the back of my mind, but I don't want to think about it too much.
"I've got to get those workloads back into me and making sure the body can handle it. I'm pretty sure it can, but it's been there before and hasn't.
"With the injuries I've had, I've got to deal with that for the rest of my career now. it's just a matter of being able to play back-to-back games as well, which I've got a lot to do, but I've got to prove it to a lot of people."
Queensland coach Darren Lehmann said Harris would not be picked for the Bulls' Sheffield Shield clash at the MCG starting Monday.
"He will stay down as 12th man and get some bowling done in the nets, then some club cricket and a Futures League game and hopefully he will be right from there," Lehmann said on Saturday night.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 17 February, 2013 9:40AM AEST