I'm a better batsman now, says Nevill

Former Test wicketkeeper points to off-season work with Australia still no clearer on who will be Ashes gloveman

With Australia's Ashes wicketkeeping spot up for grabs, Peter Nevill says he's a better batsman than when he got dropped from the Test team last summer.

The NSW Blues gloveman was one of the five casualties of Australia's horror innings defeat in Hobart last November, a fifth consecutive Test defeat that led to a seismic overhaul of the playing XI as much as the character of the team.

The 31-year-old was, and widely still is, considered the safest wicketkeeper in the country at the time of his axing, but a form slump with the bat and his preference to let his performances do the talking rather than spray verbal volleys at his opponents saw him on the outer of the national side for the rest of the summer.

Selected in his place was then Victoria captain Matthew Wade, a player with a dozen Tests under his belt, two Test centuries and a grizzly, combative demeanor behind the stumps.

"(Nevill) is very unlucky, there's no doubt about that," national selector Trevor Hohns said when Nevill was dropped.

"But we consider Matthew Wade's wicketkeeping has improved to the extent that we've gone in that direction. There's no secret Matthew Wade's batting is very, very good, in fact he's scored hundreds in Test cricket.

"He's obviously seen as a tough competitor and that is what we're looking for in our players now, and we want them to get out there now and have a fair crack at this and go forward with that."

Nevill responded in the best way possible: two first-class centuries for NSW, an average of 77, 12 catches and a stumping to boot.

Eleven months on since Hobart the roles are somewhat reversed, with Wade admitting he needs runs to keep his spot after lean series in the Test series in Bangladesh and the succeeding one-day international tour in India.

Nevill says he has avoided any speculation on the national wicketkeeping position, instead focusing on playing for NSW in the JLT Cup as he continues to employ the lessons he learned from last summer.

"I did a lot of work with Dom Thornley who was our batting coach at the time," Nevill said on Thursday.

Thornley scored 5166 first-class runs in 83 games // Getty
Thornley scored 5166 first-class runs in 83 games // Getty

"He picked up a key points that worked well for me at the back end of the Shield season.

"I definitely feel I'm a better batsman now than I was back then and I'm always looking to improve."