Joe Burns has expressed his disappointment at missing out on the Australia A four-day squad for the July tour of the UK ahead of the Ashes, as the Test opener gears up for a stint with County Championship side Lancashire.
Burns played the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in January-February, and impressed coach Justin Langer with a career-best 180 in the second match.
The right-hander now has four hundreds in what has been a stop-start 16-Test career – more than outstanding recent Australia openers David Warner, Matthew Hayden, Michael Slater or Langer had managed after the same number of matches.
He was overlooked for selection for the Australia A squad, however, with selectors preferring their incumbent opener ply his trade in division two of the County Championship as a means of increasing the number of batting candidates for Test selection.
The 29-year-old suffered a similar fate last year when, after being flown in to play the final Test in Johannesburg against South Africa following the ball-tampering scandal, he top-scored in the second innings with 42 as Australia were beaten by a record margin.
Less than six months later, and despite not playing any first-class cricket in between, he couldn't make the Australia A squad for a tour of India, and was subsequently axed for the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.
"It's always disappointing," Burns told cricket.com.au. "You want to be chosen by the selectors, whether it be for a central contract, or an A tour, whatever it is.
"My preference would be to be playing as much cricket for Australia as possible, whether that be in the Test team or at A level.
"I've missed out on teams in the past, and I'm so passionate about trying to play for Australia, that even if it's at A level, those games are really meaningful.
"But there are a lot of things at play, I get that, and now I'm just looking forward to the challenge of going to Lancashire and hopefully contributing to a season where we can get promoted in the four-day stuff.
"If there happens to be an Ashes series after that, then great. But I can't control that."
On Monday, chief selector Trevor Hohns was at pains to point out that the players involved in county cricket this year - like Burns - are very much on the radar for Test selection, despite being overlooked for the A series.
However with a host of batsmen competing for Test spots, there appears no room for sentiment or faith in incumbents as selectors look to form a combination capable of ending an 18-year Ashes drought in England.
"We have Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle and Daniel Worrall in our sights but they have not been included in the (Australia A) squad and will continue to play through this period with their County teams," Hohns said.
"However, we have made it clear that strong form with their County teams will be taken into account for selection in the Ashes squad or the Australia v Australia A tour match."
Burns said he was less focused on simply scoring runs and more intent on winning matches with Lancs, where he will replace compatriot and World Cup batsman Glenn Maxwell from May 14 (Maxwell will join the Australia squad in Brisbane in early May for the warm-up one-day games against a New Zealand XI).
"I've made big runs in the past – the selectors know I can make big runs," he added. "I'm not going to go to Lancashire trying to show people I can make big runs – I'm going to Lancashire to try and contribute to their success by buying into their team culture and ambitions.
"I know if I go to Lancashire and I learn off the guys around me about how to win in England, that would leave me in the best stead if I got the call-up to Australia."
Australia A tour of the UK
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Mitch Marsh (vc), D'Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott
Australia A four-day squad: Tim Paine (c), Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Travis Head (vc), Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Chris Tremain
June 20: Australia A v Northamptonshire, The County Ground, Northamptonshire
June 23: Australia A v Derbyshire, County Ground, Derby
June 25: Australia A v Worcestershire, New Road, Worcester
June 30: Australia A v Gloucestershire, Bristol Country Ground, Bristol
July 2: Australia A v Gloucestershire, Bristol Country Ground, Bristol
July 7-10: Australia A v Sussex, Arundel Castle Cricket Ground, Arundel
July 13-16: Australia A v England Lions, The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury
July 23-26: Australia v Australia A, Ageas Bowl, Hampshire