After getting off the phone to John Inverarity on Wednesday night, recalled Australian batsman Steve Smith ventured into his cupboard to make sure his baggy green cap was still there.
“I pulled it out for a little bit and it was quite sweet to get it out again and be able to put it back on,” said Smith.
It’s been a full two years since Smith played Test cricket for Australia.
And the road back to the squad for the four Tests in India has been long and, at times, confusing for the 23-year-old.
For a long time, Smith’s status was unknown. Was he a legspinner who could bat, an allrounder or a specialist batsman who occasionally bowled?
It seems as though Smith and Australia have settled on the latter.
Smith will most likely be the back-up batsman for the sub-continent trip, but he’ll have a chance to elevate his chances by impressing in two tour matches before the first Test from February 22.
His Sheffield Shield form for NSW this summer has been scratchy, however he’ll be buoyed by a last-start 72 against WA.
Smith was surprised to be picked but says he’s a better player now than he was when he played five Tests in 2010-’11.
And, as a skilful player of spin, Smith also feels suited to Indian conditions.
“I’ve improved a lot the last couple of years, particularly the last six months,” he said.
“I’ve changed a couple of little things with my batting, I’ve got rid of one last tap I used to have (when taking guard) and that’s made me a bit more balanced and steady at the crease.
“I’m really happy with the way I’ve hit the ball all year … a little disappointing not to have hit a big hundred, but I’m feeling really good at the crease.
“It’s always disappointing when you get dropped but that just makes you want it a little bit more.
“You’ve got to go back and work harder and try and figure out what went wrong and fix different parts of your game.”