Cameron Bancroft feels he is a better player than when he last played for Australia as he ramps up his case for a full-time Test recall.
With David Warner set to retire from the five-day format after the New Year's Test against Pakistan at the SCG, a vacancy at the top of the order is imminent.
Bancroft finds himself in a three-horse race with Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw, should the national selectors opt for a specialist opener to succeed Warner for the two-Test series against West Indies in January.
While Harris was a member of Australia's 2023 Ashes touring squad and Renshaw played two Tests in India earlier this year, Bancroft has been on the outer since playing the last of his 10 Tests back in 2019, against England at Lord's.
"I'd like to think the longer I play, the more I've improved and will get better," Bancroft said.
"That's something that I hold myself accountable to, regardless of what may or may not happen in the future.
"I always want to learn and try to keep getting better. That's something I pride myself on."
Bancroft, Harris and Renshaw all have remarkably similar first-class and Test averages but the Western Australian and Sydney Thunder opener has elevated his game over the past two summers.
Bancroft was the leading run-scorer in last season's Sheffield Shield competition, with 945 runs at 59.06, and heads this summer's leaderboard with 512 runs at 56.88.
"I've said many times it would be an honour to represent my country again," said Bancroft, whose classy 74 on Tuesday night wasn't enough to prevent his Thunder from falling to the Adelaide Strikers in a BBL thriller.
"Like all players, you dream of playing for Australia and I'd love to do that again.
"It's something I don't have control over now.
"I'll keep enjoying my cricket and I'm sure the fruits of that may happen in the future and will take care of itself."
After Bancroft's knock anchored the Thunder's imposing 7-200 at Adelaide Oval, the unrelated Shorts - captain Matt (82 off 41 balls) and D'Arcy (66 off 47) - combined wonderfully in reply for the Strikers, who ultimately edged home with two balls remaining thanks to English import Adam Hose's match-sealing straight six.
The Thunder have shown signs of promise but, after also losing their season opener to Brisbane Heat by 20 runs in Canberra, they are winless after two matches.
"We obviously haven't quite put our best foot forward in the two games we've played," Bancroft said.
"We've done some things really well and probably mis-executed in other parts of our game.
"We've not played terribly, we just need to polish some components of our game.
"That will be the difference in us winning games of cricket."