Supporters of Matthew Wade who have been lobbying for his return to the national men's team have their case further strengthened after the ex-Australia keeper was tonight crowned Male Domestic Player of the Year.
Wade, who has been in career-best form in both JLT Sheffield Shield and the ongoing KFC Big Bash League competitions this summer, was recognised for his performances from 8 December 2017 through until 11 December last year.
Which means his most recent run of form for the table-topping Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL wasn't included in the voting that was conducted by playing peers from rival states and BBL clubs.
Wade finished with 24 per cent of the peer-group vote, to finish ahead of Queensland all-rounder Michael Neser (19 per cent) and Victoria quick Scott Boland (11 per cent).
He becomes the latest in a recent succession of 'veteran' category players to take out the prize for pre-eminent men's domestic player, following his former Victoria teammate Cameron White (2014 and 2017) and Western Australia's Adam Voges (2016).
The most recent 'emerging' player to secure the award – which is voted upon by all national, state and (W)BBL contracted players immediately prior to the annual awards evening – was WA left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff in 2015.
Across all eligible formats during the 12-month window, Wade scored 1509 runs at an average of 45.73 with five centuries and a highest score of 139.
He was the leading runs-scorer in the JLT Sheffield Shield over that period, ahead of Queensland's Matthew Renshaw and Victoria's recently capped Test opener Marcus Harris.
In addition, Wade was Tasmania's fourth-highest runs scorer (behind Ben McDermott, Jordan Silk and George Bailey) in the JLT Cup domestic 50-over competition, and the Hurricanes' third-highest scorer (after D'Arcy Short and McDermott) in the BBL.
However, much of the discussion surrounding the 31-year-old in recent weeks has focused on the likelihood that his irresistible case for a recall to the Australia men's team in either red or white ball cricket will be recognised by the national selection panel.
Wade played the most recent of his 22 Tests against Bangladesh in Chittagong in September, 2017, and he has not been part of the limited-overs set-up since Australia's ODI tour to India that immediately followed that Bangladesh campaign.
When selection panel chair Trevor Hohns held a media conference in the wake of Australia's 1-2 defeat at the hands of India in the four-game Domain Series last month, he outlined what Wade needed to do to further push his place for an Australia recall.
"He’s playing as a wicketkeeper-batsman for Tasmania and it just so happens we have a wicketkeeper-batsman in our Test side,” Hohns said, in reference to incumbent Test skipper and fellow Tasmanian Tim Paine.
"If Matthew wants to be considered as a straight-out batsman, it’d be nice to see him batting higher up the order for Tasmania and that conversation has been had."
Wade, who this summer replaced George Bailey as Tasmania captain having previously led Victoria to two Sheffield Shield titles before returning home to Hobart at the start of 2017-18, has indicated he will move higher up Tasmania's batting order when the Shield season resumes.
When he also likely to play as a specialist batter, with Paine taking over the gloves for the Tigers.
"I feel my form is as good as anyone in the country," Wade said in the wake of Hohns's comments.
"When Justin (Langer, men's team coach) first took over he said that weight of runs would be the leverage to get selected and I feel like I’ve put the runs on the board over a long period of time.
"I’m hoping they’re not just looking at me as a specialist keeper, I hope they are looking at me as a batsman as well.
"If I have to prove that in Shield cricket, I will.
"I’ll come up the order and take off the (keeping) gloves."