Incumbent Test opener Marcus Harris is intent on keeping his spot for the coming Ashes tour but Victoria’s Sheffield Shield final against NSW is his sole focus for now.
The final starts on Thursday at Junction Oval and Harris will be looking to complete a stunning summer with a win against the Vics’ arch rivals.
This season, the left-hander made his Test debut, was part of the Victorian side that won the one-day series, took Big Bash honours with the Melbourne Renegades and passed the 1000-run mark at Shield level for the first time.
Harris is confident he has the runs on the board to keep his spot but knows David Warner’s availability after serving his ball-tampering ban means he or Joe Burns could have a hard luck story to tell.
“Obviously someone will miss out,” Harris told reporters on Tuesday.
“There are only two spots at the top of the order and I dare say Davey Warner has probably got one of them.
“It will be a tight squeeze but it is what it is … I think whoever is making runs will take that position.
“I think I’ve been playing pretty well and doing everything I can do to try to keep my spot in that side.
“But I think once we get to England the Australia A tour will probably be pretty heavily weighted for (selection in) the Ashes squad.”
Harris moved to the top of the Shield runs table with 1024, edging out Tasmania’s Matthew Wade by three runs, following Victoria’s win over South Australia that secured top spot.
In previous years, the Vics would have had one hand on the trophy as the home team with only a draw required to be crowned Shield champions.
But a new points system will be trialled this season, which Cricket Australia hopes will make for a more entertaining contest than has sometimes been the case in the past.
Harris looms as a key factor in the decider, with three centuries to his name in previous Shield finals.
“As a professional you want to perform in big games … I’ll be doing my best to hopefully put another hundred on the board in a final,” he said.
“Junction is a pretty good wicket to bat on so I think if I can bat for long enough that might take care of itself.
“… (But) it doesn’t bother me if I get a duck or if anyone gets a hundred – as long as we win that’s all that matters.”