Ashton Turner hopes a return to the bowling crease will boost his chances of being part of Australia's T20 World Cup squad.
Turner has undergone multiple shoulder operations during his career, the most recent two years ago, and has rarely been seen with the ball. However, across the last two ODIs in West Indies he sent down 14 overs, claiming two wickets and impressing with his control.
It was the most he had bowled since the end of 2016-17 Australian domestic season when he delivered 41 overs in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales.
He now hopes for more opportunity with the ball during the five-match T20I series in Bangladesh, starting on Tuesday, which is a final chance to impress the selectors before the World Cup squad is named.
"Bowling is something I've always loved and unfortunately due to my shoulder injuries I haven't been able to contribute much in games," he said. "It's been almost two years since my last operation, so I feel as good about my bowling as I have in a long time.
"Although I haven't been able to bowl a lot in games, behind the scenes I've been working a lot at training and it's nice in conditions that suited spin bowling and to be another option for the captain. Hoping that my bowling workloads can increase from here.
"Don't think I've bowled eight overs in a game for more than four years...no doubt that will take some time. Feel like I've done everything I can over the recent periods and I'm starting to enjoy it as much as I used to."
Having a second string could be a deciding factor in selection although Turner's primary job will remain with the bat. He is seen as one of the players who could be Australia's finisher but he only played twice in the recent T20I series against the West Indies. His best innings came in the first ODI when he made 49 while the performance that put him on the map internationally was his 84 off 43 balls against India in Mohali in 2019.
To date, he has made 87 runs from 89 balls across nine T20I innings. The 22 balls he faced in the third ODI in St Lucia is the most he has managed in a single game, in a position where the demands are often for instant results very quickly, but he believes his role in domestic cricket for Perth Scorchers stands him in good stead.
"There's no secret until you've been able to walk out in high-pressure situations and perform, training can't replicate that pressure," he said. "I'm fortunate that for a number of years now I've been able to experience some close games in the middle order and try to finish innings. With that experience, comes confidence and that's not something that can be found at training."
In the West Indies, he also took the chance to pick the brains of Andre Russell who is a master of the closing overs and has also lent on the recalled Dan Christian in the Australian dressing room.
'[Speaking to] Andre Russell on the back of the West Indies tour, being able to get some insights from him about how he goes about his game. He's probably the best in the world at the moment at finishing innings and he's another one playing T20 cricket only," Turner said. "The message coming from Andre is that he's trying to replicate the situations he has in games and challenge him as much as possible.
"Dan Christian is someone I've played a lot of cricket with but not necessarily spent a lot of time in the same dressing. So I have spoken to him about his transition from playing all formats of the game to now plying his trade as one of the best middle-order finishers in the domestic circuit. It's interesting to see a change in his philosophy around batting and how he models his training and that's certainly evolved over the last five years."
The five-match T20I series against Bangladesh that begins on Tuesday will be played across seven days in Dhaka. Australia are expected to be captained by Matthew Wade in the absence of Aaron Finch who has returned home with a knee injury.