Redbacks wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey is heading into his team's JLT One-Day Cup opener with a specific pair of goals in mind: long-awaited silverware for South Australia, and strong personal form to continue pushing his case for higher honours.
South Australia kick off their season against New South Wales on Thursday in a day-night clash at the WACA under new captain Jake Lehmann, with usual skipper Travis Head away on international duty.
Carey is set to open the innings, and after 'keeping rival Matthew Wade yesterday laid down a marker with a stunning 65-ball hundred for Tasmania, the incumbent Australian limited-overs gloveman is focused on putting together some strong numbers.
"Big picture is to perform and keep trying to put my name up for 50-over cricket at international level," Carey told cricket.com.au. "But for me as well it's about hopefully helping SACA win some silverware.
"We got close last year and I guess the goal for me in the short term is six, seven really good games, and if I'm playing well then hopefully that's recognised for the next level as well."
The Redbacks have made the final of the 50-over tournament in two of the past three years but have not claimed the trophy since 2011-12, and this time they will be without Test squad member and regular captain Travis Head, as well as injured quicks Dan Worrall and Spencer Johnson.
"You can't really replace a Travis Head but the squad we've got is strong enough to perform really well without him," Carey said.
"I'm really proud of him and all the boys are really excited for Trav.
"We've got some really good depth in South Australia including some really good young quicks. We've got Chadd Sayers, Luke Robins, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa, so still a really experienced lineup with the ball.
"Nick Winter comes into the squad and we saw late last season how well he did with the red ball also."
Fresh off a stint for Australia A in India, Carey is enthused by the idea of imparting some learnings on his teammates throughout the 50-over tournament, with the future prospect of state captaincy not far from his mind.
"I'm looking forward to getting back with the SA boys and taking what I learnt from Australia A level and bringing it back here," Carey said.
"I'd love to captain South Australia if I was lucky enough – that would be a really proud moment for me.
"For now I'm looking forward to helping Jake out as his right-hand man behind the stumps. He's a really good character and everyone in the squad loves him."
Also driving the 27-year-old is the not-too-distant dream of a World Cup appearance, with the former Aussie Rules player now considered the man most likely to take the gloves for Australia in England next year.
Before that though, he insists the squad is desperate to turn around a miserable run of form that reached a nadir in June when they were thumped 5-0 in England.
"We've got some T20s in Dubai and then one-dayers after that, and we want to turn our one-day form around," he said. "I know, being in England when we lost 5-0, that's not the result we expect from ourselves.
"We learnt a lot from that and now it's about bringing that back to JLT Cup, playing well and being ready for white-ball cricket in Australia leading into the World Cup."