Australia's Test hopefuls will spend Tuesday nervously waiting by the phone, says Peter Siddle, revealing new coach Justin Langer has told him age is no barrier to a potential international recall.
The National Selection Panel is set to announce the squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, Australia's first Test tour since this year's scandal-ridden South African campaign, on Tuesday afternoon.
Siddle is among a number of contenders vying for a fast-bowling berth, with Ashes-winning quicks Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to miss the tour due to injury.
Jhye Richardson, a member of the South Africa Test squad, is expected to be included alongside spearhead Mitchell Starc, leaving the likes of Siddle and Australia A quicks Chris Tremain and Michael Neser in the mix for one or two more spots.
"There is obviously going to be some nervous people – this is the most opportunity in one team being selected that there's ever been in the last 20 years," Siddle told RSN.
"There are a lot of spots up for grabs. There's going to be a lot of people holding phones in their hand waiting for a call."
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Siddle himself admitted he had no idea whether he was a legitimate chance of adding to his 62 Test caps.
The Victorian is fresh off a strong campaign with Essex in the United Kingdom, collecting 37 wickets at 16 in seven four-day County Championship games for the title-holders.
"I spoke to ‘JL’ (Langer) a fair bit in the time I was away about my own cricket, and then also about … the Australia A tour and bowling and preparing over in Asia," Siddle said.
"I've had some good communication with him, whether that transcends into selection, we'll see.
"It's all been positive. He's said to me that no matter how old you are, every game counts. That's a good way to look at it and it's the way I've been looking at things over the last few months.
"It doesn't matter who you play for, whether it's (his Premier Cricket team) Dandenong, Victoria or Essex – just make every game count, every performance will count and leave the selecting up to the higher powers."
Australia A quick Tremain is remaining level-headed about a potential maiden call-up to the Test squad after "a day in the dirt" where India A piled on 505 in their first innings in Alur.
"If I look around I'm already representing for my country playing international cricket," Tremain, who finished with 3-41 from 17 economical overs, said when asked about his chances of a UAE berth.
"I never actually believed I'd be a professional cricketer let alone playing for my country. I wouldn't say I'm content, I'm happy with what I'm doing.
"We let wickets, we let runs and we let selection deal with themselves because if we front up every day … they generally take care of themselves."
There are even more questions of the batting front, with the likes of Joe Burns, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne and Aaron Finch all in the running for a limited number of spots.
Siddle gave a ringing endorsement to his Victorian teammate Finch, suggesting his experience in the Indian Premier League and capability against spin would hold him in good stead if selected for his first Test.
"If you break it down he's averaged about 45 for Victoria in first class cricket (over the last three seasons)," said Siddle.
"He's matured a lot as a player and he knows his game a lot better than he did as a youngster. His experience over in Asia – he's played a lot of IPL, plays spin well – the opportunity and the chances are there.
"If ever there's a great chance for him to get in, it's definitely going to be this tour. Fingers crossed for him he gets his chance in the next day or so, because the conditions will suit him (and) he plays spin so well.
"We'll see what happens. It's a big phone call for a lot of Victorians – there's a fair few in with a big chance."