Test outcast Matthew Wade needs to look no further than fellow Tasmanian Tim Paine to realise his days wearing the Baggy Green are not necessarily over, according to Tigers teammate Jordan Silk.
The left-hander sent a timely reminder of his skill with the bat with an unbeaten 92 on the opening day of the JLT Sheffield Shield final to give Tasmania hope of victory over Queensland.
After sensationally losing his Test wicketkeeping position to Paine on the eve of the Ashes, Wade conceded last month that he'd be surprised to get a recall having also squandered the ODI role to the gloveman he grew up with in Hobart.
Wade is now on the brink of his third Shield century since the Big Bash break and is the leading run-scorer among keepers in the competition with 638 runs at 46.
Should he score the eight runs required for his 12th first-class century on Sunday morning, the 30-year-old will become just the fourth keeper to notch a ton in a Shield final.
Legendary former Test vice-captain Adam Gilchrist (189 not out for Western Australia against South Australia in 1996), Bulls stalwart Chris Hartley (111 against Tasmania in 2012) and the Tigers' first-choice gloveman when Wade originally left for Victoria a decade ago, Sean Clingeleffer (107 against NSW in 2007) are the three keepers to achieve the feat.
"I think there's plenty of good cricket left in him, we've seen that today and we've seen that over the past six weeks," Silk said of Wade with Tasmania 6-360 at stumps on day two.
"I wouldn't say never. I don’t think Tim Paine thought he'd ever be back in the same position he's in now.
"If (Wade) is churning runs out like he is at the moment, there's no reason he can't get back in that side.
"He's been enormous for us. He didn't have the impact he would have liked in the first half of the year but he's been incredible for us (in the) back half.
"He's on the verge of making it a third hundred in the back half of the year. His numbers are great but I think it's the presence he gives us on the field too.
"That gets talked a lot about when he plays for Australia, that presence and that chirpiness. It's given us a real voice on the field."
Speaking to cricket.com.au after the Hobart Hurricanes' semi-final victory over the Perth Scorchers Wade admitted South Australia rising star Alex Carey, who was subsequently picked for Australia's trans-Tasman T20 tri-series, had probably gone ahead of him in the keeping pecking order.
"When you get dropped from all formats, in a summer, I would be surprised if they (national selectors) go back to me," Wade said.
"I’m disappointed that I didn’t get picked in the one-dayers (against England in January) but that’s just what it is, and my international career is probably a long way away from coming back.
"Alex Carey’s playing good cricket, I would assume he’d be the next option for Australia in short format.
"But I’m comfortable with that. I understand that, it’s a reality for me."
Occupying the No.6 position for Tasmania, Wade arrived at the crease at crucial juncture on the second day of the Shield final.
The diminutive left-hander was made to duck and weave out of the way of a series of hostile bouncer barrages, with Brendan Doggett in particular hurrying all the Tigers batsmen, but steadily built partnerships with skipper George Bailey (51) and fearless allrounder Simon Milenko (50) to give the visitors the upper hand.
Andy Bichel, Queensland bowling coach and Australia's lion-hearted former Test quick, revealed the Bulls had planned to target Wade with short-pitched bowling.
"He's been out to the short ball a lot this year. With these 55 metre boundaries he's managed to pop a few over (the rope). But he's a key player," said Bichel.
"He's batted pretty patiently and that gave Milenko and even Rogers now the chance to just express themselves a little bit.
"He's held them together quite nicely."
As for Wade's nerves knowing he's only eight away from a major milestone, Silk laughed when asked how his teammate will sleep on Saturday.
"Whenever you're on 90-odd it's always a tough night's sleep but I’m sure he's been in this position before," said Silk, who earlier posted 76 to get Tasmania off to a healthy start.
"We're hopeful that he can start well in the morning and we can push on to a big first innings total."