It’s irony not lost on Will Bosisto that should the opening tenure he quietly covets become available in the summer ahead, it might be due to the troubling circumstances that have sidelined his boyhood batting mate, Cameron Bancroft.
Bosisto and Bancroft, born 10 months apart in Perth’s inner-suburbs, developed similarly flinty qualities as junior cricketers as they navigated a shared road to senior representation.
They were regular hard-working, technically impeccable opponents on the neatly clipped fields of Perth’s top-ranked private schools.
Bosisto grew up close to the strip of suburban beaches that abut the Indian Ocean and attended Scotch College, which boasts Australia Test representative Barry Shepherd and former chairman of selectors John Inverarity among its alumni.
Bancroft was at Aquinas College on the far side of the Swan River, an institution set on the banks of its tributary waterway, the Canning, and alma mater to Terry Alderman, Brad Hogg, Nathan Coulter-Nile and current Australia coach, Justin Langer.
From schoolyards, the pair transitioned quickly to the national stage; Bosisto as captain of Australia’s team that finished runner-up at the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup staged in Queensland with Bancroft – who had already debuted for WA in the domestic one-day cup – atop his batting order.
Bosisto had only been installed as Under-19 captain weeks prior to the tournament after Bancroft (along with fellow West Australian Ashton Turner and New South Wales’ Kurtis Patterson) had been trialled as skipper in preceding matches.
The selectors’ call proved intuitive after Bosisto was dismissed just once – caught short of his ground by a direct hit from Theunis de Bruyn when Australia were a boundary away from victory against South Africa – and averaged a remarkable 276 in six matches, as the top-order routinely faltered.
His team lost the final to India at Townsville, but Bosisto finished fifth among the competition’s leading runs-scorers behind future internationals Anamul Haque (Bangladesh), Babar Azam (Pakistan) and Quinton de Kock (South Africa), and was adjudged player of the tournament.
Bosisto and Bancroft then received their first-class caps in the same game, a Sheffield Shield fixture against Victoria at the MCG in October 2013, and the whisper grew that through both talent and temperament the pair were destined for senior Australia careers.
But that’s where the paths diverged.
Bancroft has pushed on to an additional 75 first-class appearances, including eight Tests and a future that loomed as limitless until he was involved in this year’s ball-tampering incident in Cape Town and handed a nine-month ban that will lift after Christmas.
Bosisto, by contrast, has added less than a quarter of that first-class tally (16 matches) over five summers and endured his own painful exclusion from the game when sidelined to undertake remedial work on his bowling action after it was deemed to be illegal in 2014.
So while his empathy for Bancroft is fortified by yet another shared experience, he is also acutely aware that the game moves relentlessly on and opportunities must be grasped, regardless of how they arise.
Though he pushes back on suggestions this looms as his watershed season.
"There’s a lot of overlap in the schedule this summer, with the international guys coming in and out, and that provides opportunities for guys to come in and perform a role and take that chance," Bosisto told cricket.com.au near the end of his successful stint in the Northern Territory Strike League.
"Whether or not it’s a pivotal summer, that’s probably something that puts added pressure on a player and I don’t see that as being there.
"Every time I get an opportunity, I’m looking to do as well as I can.
"Whichever summer it is doesn’t change that, or whichever game it is doesn’t change that.
"There’s certain goals that I have.
"Ideally I see myself as an opening batsman and off-spin bowler, and that’s the role I like playing.
"I love opening the batting, but I’m happy to play whatever role it takes to be in the side."
Bosisto already has a fair feel for the breadth of those roles.
In Shield cricket alone, he’s filled every batting position from one to seven across his 16 matches and in 50-over cricket – where he captained the CA XI in the JLT One-Day Cup competition – he’s been called on to show similar versatility.
But his most treasured moment came at the top of the order when, opening against an all-Australian Victoria Shield attack of James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Scott Boland, Marcus Stoinis, Fawad Ahmed and Glenn Maxwell, he batted more than six hours to salvage a draw for WA.
And posted his sole first-class century to date in the process.
"It’s the same with anything in life," Bosisto said of his breakthrough innings in November, 2015.
"You believe you can do it, but you don’t truly know deep down in yourself that you can until you’ve actually achieved it.
"That was a good innings for me to instill the belief that I’m good enough to play and play well at that level, and against a good attack it was a real positive in my cricketing journey so far."
It’s therefore no surprise that Bosisto is eyeing his chance to stake an opening berth, his preferred position in the order but one that has been denied him on anything other than an occasional basis since he entered first-class ranks.
Largely because of the calibre of openers that WA has boasted over the past five years.
At first, it was Test-capped Marcus North who partnered Bancroft against the new ball and, when he retired, the role was filled by Marcus Harris prior to his move to Victoria.
That led to Jonathan Wells’ elevation following his transfer from Tasmania, and even when Bancroft was called up for Test duties last summer the opportunities oscillated between Bosisto, Wells, Josh Phillipe and white-ball sensation, D’Arcy Short.
The hot competition for places has thus far not allowed Bosisto to command a regular berth.
However, the likely absence of top-order batters Bancroft (through suspension), and Shaun and Mitchell Marsh (on Australia’s Test and T20 series against Pakistan in the UAE from late September) might create chances, at summer’s outset for Bosisto to state his case.
Or, should allrounders Ashton Agar and Hilton Cartwright also win selection for the UAE campaign, he could slot into the middle-order given the options he also provides with his off-spin.
"It is a strong side, which is a benefit in one way and it also makes it difficult to get in the side," he said.
"It’s a benefit because I’m training with good players all the time and learning from good players, and I think my game has benefitted from that.
"But I have been in and out a little bit.
"I would love to play consistently in the side, but that’s up to me to seize the opportunity and make the most of the chances when I get them."
Starting with next month’s JLT One-Day Cup, which Bosisto enters brim full of confidence having completed his nine Strike League T20 and 50-over matches with 299 runs at 42.71, second-best return for his Southern Storm outfit behind South Australia’s Kelvin Smith.
From his junior days, Bosisto developed a reputation as a solid rather than spectacular stroke player.
His game – not unlike Bancroft’s – was founded upon a limited repertoire of minimal-risk shots, but with a capacity to concentrate and preserve his wicket for extended periods.
Now, as he approaches his 25th birthday, he aims to incorporate the expansive elements he worked on assiduously under the Darwin dry season heat during July.
"I want to play all three forms of the game as much as possible, and I’d love one day to represent Australia in all three forms," he said.
"So I’m going to try and develop my white-ball skills and get as much exposure in that form of the game as possible, but also my red-ball cricket.
"The Strike League provided a great chance for me to develop my T20 cricket, which I haven’t played a helluva lot of compared to other guys who have played on international circuits and five, six, seven seasons of Big Bash cricket.
"So I’ll go back to Perth after the Strike League and get back into some sort of back-end pre-season training, and then we’ll have some practice matches.
"Then, it’s JLT Cup time."