Glenn Maxwell says he has 'unfinished business' with his Baggy Green cap and is biding his time for a successful return to the Australian Test team.
Maxwell was an unlucky omission from the Magellan Ashes squad, forced out in a cut-throat high-stakes bat-off for the No.6 slot in the first three rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield, a race ultimately won by Shaun Marsh.
Marsh vindicated that call with fifties at the Gabba and in the first innings in Melbourne, and a brilliant unbeaten 126 against the pink Kookaburra in Adelaide.
With a four-Test series in South Africa in March looming, Maxwell says he's better situated than ever before to grab any Test opportunity that might come his way.
"I'd love to get back in the Test team. I've got a lot of unfinished business with the Baggy Green," Maxwell said during a commentary stint on ABC Grandstand during day four of the Boxing Day Test.
"I feel like I've made some good strides this year, making my first Test hundred, and changing a few things technically and the way I bat at No.3 (for Victoria) as well.
"I'd like to think I am (a long-term Test cricketer) I've been pretty public in the way I've talked about how I feel I'm a red-ball cricketer that's been given opportunities with the white ball at the start of my career and had to develop my game that way.
"I've always felt like I was red-ball cricketer, it probably just took me too long to realise how to bat for a long period of time."
Maxwell says subtle changes in his approach since returning from an extended stint in the subcontinent earlier this year – narrowing his stance to stand taller – and the added responsibility of being promoted to No.3 for Victoria, have helped take him to the next level.
"I'm in a pretty good space mentality. Having batted really well the last couple Shield games and being really comfortable with my technique, I don't have any demons if I was picked (in the Test team).
"If you looked at the last couple of times I've been picked for Australia, I don't think I was heading in with great form; I wasn't picked on massive numbers, I was probably picked on potential."
An injury to Mitchell Marsh in India gave Maxwell the opportunity for the third Test in Ranchi, and he seized it to score his maiden Test century.
A first-up failure with 7 and 20 against Queensland in the Shield opener was followed by 60 and 64 against South Australia at the MCG, before scores of 4 and 45no against Tasmania at the same venue. It wasn't enough to secure his spot in the Test team but a personal best of 278 against New South Wales followed straight after the Test squad was announced.
"I was on the verge of making it work, especially against South Australia. I was batting quite well in that Shield game and got out in two interesting ways and ended up with two 60s," Maxwell recalled.
"I was showing really good signs of being able to build a big innings.
"I felt like (a big score) was just around the corner, and sure enough the next innings I played was probably the best one I've ever played.
“I didn't miss the middle too much, I moved really well front and back foot, so something was always going to build but I didn't expect it to be that big."
Maxwell said he had "absolutely no idea" if he was in selectors' plans for the South Africa tour, with the first Test due to start March 1.
"I can't say I have daily chats with selectors," Maxwell said. "I just try to go about my business at the moment. It's not something I can control, I just worry about what I can control and that's doing what I can."
2017-18 International Fixtures
Magellan Ashes Series
Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.
England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard
Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard
Third Test Australia won by an innings and 41 runs. Scorecard
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets
Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21