Australia Test captain Tim Paine has encouraged the batting talent across the country to stand up ahead of the international summer.
Australia's historic Test against Afghanistan in late November is the first event on a rich schedule of international action Down Under, which also includes the Ashes and limited overs campaigns against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Before the home summer, the nation's men's T20I team will aim to make a deep run for an ICC Men's T20 World Cup title - a trophy Australia is yet to hoist aloft.
Several candidates for spots in the Test team will feature in the Sheffield Shield - Australia's domestic first-class tournament - while the T20 World Cup runs from October, and Paine has opened the door for Australia's batting talent to claim spots for the home Test matches.
“I think there’s four or five Shield games before the Afghanistan Test and some guys potentially away in the World Cup, so there’s going to be some opportunities for guys to press their case in the first few rounds of Shield cricket," he said.
“It’s going to be up to guys to grab the opportunity and I think every batter around the country will be licking their lips at the moment, thinking an Ashes series is on the line in Australia with a couple of batting spots up for grabs.”
Despite the tight turnaround between the T20 World Cup and the start of the home summer, Paine says Australia intends to play their strongest eleven to fight on both red-ball and white-ball fronts.
“We’ll be trying to pick the best possible sides available for every game of those series.
“It’s part of modern-day cricket. You’ve got to be able to chop between tournaments, you’ve got to be able to chop between formats, and normally the guys that are doing that, those multi-format players that are playing all three formats, are the very best players at it.”
Paine is yet to play an international match in any format in his hometown of Hobart as Australia return to play Test cricket in Tasmania after a five-year absence.
The Australian men's captain confessed he wasn't expecting to lead his men just minutes from where he learned to play the game but sees the chance of playing at his home ground as a career highlight.
“To have it in your hometown where you grew up, have my family and friends be able to see me walk out and play cricket for Australia is something really exciting.
"It’s where I grew up on the hill here at Bellerive, watching David Boon and Ricky Ponting.
“For Tasmanian kids and the Tasmanian public in general to get out and see world-class players like that is going to be awesome.”
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