Nottingham: Alex Carey has declared his "dream" is to play Test cricket but his Ashes hopes remain in the balance as a rival began to stake his own Test claims.
Carey's focus may be on helping Australia to a sixth World Cup but few could blame him if it wonders briefly to another Australian side making its way around England.
Carey, 27, said his long-term aim was to play Test cricket but understands he is a work in progress.
"At the moment, my experience at the international level, has been with the white ball and I guess [I have had] limited opportunity back in Australia in Shield cricket. But I wouldn't change anything. If I'm playing white ball cricket for Australia, then I'm really happy to do that," he said.
"But, moving forward, I'll continue to improve in all three formats in my game, hopefully, and, hopefully, one day play Test cricket. I think every cricketer – or everyone that I've spoken to – every cricketer's dream is to play Test cricket. I'm no different.
"At the moment, it's to keep improving in this team, the T20 team as well, and, hopefully, one day down the track there's an opportunity there.
"But, at the moment, I'm really loving playing white-ball cricket for Australia, working with [fielding coach] Brad Haddin. Obviously, Tim Paine's keeping really well at the moment as well."
The Australia A tour has begun, when a squad led by Travis Head held the first of five one-day matches, against Northamptonshire at The County Ground. That's where Matthew Wade, having arrived late after the birth of his second child, began to intensify his push for an Ashes berth.
Carey, the World Cup vice-captain, and Wade, the former Test and short-form gloveman, are jostling for the back-up role behind skipper Tim Paine for the Ashes, beginning August 1. That is, of course, unless the national selectors opt to have a part-time keeper as reserve, in that case buoying the hopes of Cameron Bancroft and Peter Handscomb.
Handscomb replaced Wade for the series-deciding one-day international against India in Indore in 2017 and has taken the gloves for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League. But he has maintained his future is as a specialist batsman.
Carey, with 29 first-class matches to his credit and an average of 29.43, is improving as a wicketkeeper but there are those who believe he is not yet of Test standard.
Wade, 31, managed 22 Tests through two stints, averaging 28.58. He was dropped ahead of the 2017-18 Ashes, his batting form having fallen away.
However, after a Sheffield Shield season in which he thumped 1021 runs at 60.05 for Tasmania, he is not only in the running to be a back-up gloveman but also as a reserve specialist batsman for the Ashes.