WHEN national selection panel chairman John Inverarity last month named the 12-man squad that would eventually win back the Ashes, he indicated that Launceston's Alex Doolan would be the "next man in", as he is "is a very highly regarded player" in the panel's eyes.
Eight weeks later Inverarity has proven to be true to his word after yesterday naming the 28-year- old in a 14-man extended squad for Friday's final Test against England at the SCG, acting as cover for all- rounder Shane Watson, who is battling a groin injury.
If Watson is declared unfit for duty, Doolan is expected to take the coveted no.3 position in the batting order, the position once owned by former Test skipper Ricky Ponting, Doolan's mentor last Sheffield Shield season, who has publicly backed him as a future Australian first-drop.
But the former Scotch Oakburn student, whose preparations for last night's Big Bash League outing for the Melbourne Renegades were pleasantly interrupted by Inverarity, yesterday said he understood that his chances of getting his hands on a baggy green rested on the fitness of others.
"I was shocked, to be perfectly honest and didn't really know what to say or do when I got the phone call from John," Doolan told The Examiner yesterday.
"That feeling has now turned into excitement.
" (If selected) I feel I can have an impact, as I feel I have been hitting the ball really well, although it can be hard to judge that in T20 cricket, but my game doesn't change much between the formats, as I just try to have a steady technique and find the gaps.
"But to the best of my knowledge I have been included in the 14-man squad for no reason other than experience and the chance I might play if any of the batters don't come up."
Doolan, who played for the Launceston Cricket Club before relocating to Hobart, joins other NTCA graduates George Bailey (South Launceston) and James Faulkner (Launceston) in the squad.
"It will be great to have those guys beside me at training and helping me to get comfortable," Doolan said.
"I've played most of my first class cricket with both James and George, so I'll very much be looking to getting in to the nets with them, spending a bit of time with them and gleaning a bit of knowledge from them about how to best equip myself for the game."
Doolan, who seemingly edged out Phil Hughes for a place in the squad, entered Test discussions after scoring 161 against South Africa last summer, and has toured South Africa and the United Kingdom with the "A" team.
He constructed a classy 132 to see the Tigers home against New South Wales in the opening Shield encounter of the summer, and has scored 391 runs at 39.10 this summer, after making 715 runs at 42.05 in Tasmania's title-winning season.
The son of former Tasmanian wicketkeeper Bruce Doolan has made 3375 first class runs in 53 matches at an average of 37.92.
Hobart Hurricane Doug Bollinger, who has been on standby for the past two Tests, has been released from those duties.
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD: Michael Clarke (c) Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, George Bailey, Alex Doolan, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Nathan Coulter-Nile.