Opening batsman Marcus Harris has declared he's ready to play Test cricket as selectors met on Wednesday to find solutions to Australia's problematic top order.
A fortnight before the start of the four-Test series against world No.1 India, there are any number of combinations and permutations to consider for Trevor Hohns and his panel so thin are Australia's stocks with the bat.
Such is the concern over their batting, which has been severely weakened by the suspensions to Steve Smith and David Warner, vice-captain and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is no certainty if selectors deem it necessary to strengthen and pick six frontline batsmen.
And South Australia seamer Dan Worrall is emerging as a potential Test bolter to be named in the squad for his home Test.
With few contenders emerging from the first four rounds of the Sheffield Shield, selectors may well feel it's better the devil they know than the devil they don't.
The runs have dried up for Shield stalwarts George Bailey and Callum Ferguson while other leading run-scorers in recent years like Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright and Kurtis Patterson have not shot out of the pack.
Former Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and Alex Doolan have thrust their names on selectors' radar by bolting out of the gates.
Aaron Finch and Travis Head have struggled for runs since their debut series against Pakistan but both are strongly tipped to keep their places.
It's unclear if selectors will meet again with a possible announcement to come either late this week or early next week.
Finch averaged 45 as an opener on the featherbeds of the UAE but there are questions if his technique can hold up to batting at the top on Australian pitches, which offer more assistance to the bowlers early.
If picked to face the new ball, Finch will be in the curious position of opening for his country but not his state.
The Victorian had scored only 69 runs in eight innings since the Pakistan Tests, all in limited overs internationals, but has the current Twenty20 series against India and possibly next week's round of Shield games to find form.
Head ended a run of low scores with 87 for the Redbacks last week in the Shield, which may be enough to save him with the dearth of big scores by others around the country.
It would be a dramatic fall from grace for Marsh if he was to be dumped less than two months after being named a co-vice-captain.
Marsh had a horror series in the Middle East, where Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas zeroed in on his front pad.
He does, however, have strong claims for a show of faith. The West Australian starred with the bat in last season's Ashes, hit 151 earlier this month in the Shield and he provides captain Tim Paine with a fourth seam option against India's strong batting line-up.
Worrall is in the frame along with the likes of incumbent quick Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain and Jackson Bird for a berth in the squad.
Harris, who is in a battle with Matt Renshaw, Alex Doolan and Joe Burns for an opener's berth, is one of few batsmen who have scored strongly in the past two Shield seasons and are currently in form.
Since crossing to Victoria from Western Australia for the 2016-17 season, Harris has hit 1951 runs at 47.58. He sits second on the runs chart this campaign with 437 at 87.4, which makes for a compelling case at a time when selectors have put the pressure on batsmen to put up big numbers.
"I feel like I've batted as well as I've ever batted. I feel like my game's really matured this year," Harris said. "I feel like I'm definitely ready for whatever opportunity comes my way. I've had a good few years, hopefully that plays into my favour."
Harris is welcoming the scrutiny that has fallen on Test candidates at the start of the season, while others have struggled.
"It's better than not being talked about," Harris said.
"If you're going to play for Australia you're going to be spoken about a lot so you have to perform under pressure. I dont' get wound up by it too much. That's why I've been able to keep making runs, I suppose."
MOST SHIELD RUNS: 2016-18
Marcus Harris 1951 @ 47.58, 5 x 100
Joe Burns 1709 @ 44.97, 4 x 100
Hilton Cartwright 1684 @ 41.07, 3 x 100
Kurtis Patterson 1573 @ 39.33, 1 x 100
Jake Weatherald 1547 @ 32.91, 3 x 100
MOST SHIELD RUNS: 2018/19 SEASON
Alex Doolan 444 @ 55.5, 1 x 100
Marcus Harris 437 @ 87.4, 1 x 100
Matthew Wade 412 @ 82.4, 1 x 100
Tom Cooper 392 @ 56, 2 x 100
Shaun Marsh 362 @ 120.66, 1 x 100
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald