After years of flirting, Callum Ferguson feels ready for a serious relationship with the Australian cricket team - if only they'd open the door.
The South Australian strokeplayer showed steel to complement his much-admired style with a tenacious ton against Queensland today in the Sheffield Shield.
Tempering his usual dash, Ferguson was the Redbacks' anchor as they posted 5-256 on the opening day against the Bulls at Adelaide Oval.
Ferguson arrived with SA a perilous 2-29 but compiled an unbeaten 115, batting more than six hours and facing 249 deliveries.
"It makes it a little bit more special, it was probably the hardest that I have had to work for my hundreds," Ferguson said.
Ferguson's eighth first-class century was watched by Australian selector Rod Marsh, and served as a reminder of his ability.
Two summers ago, he was on the cusp of earning a baggy green for an Ashes series.
But Test selectors opted to give Mike Hussey another chance - he grabbed it, was Australia's highest run-scorer in the losing home series against England, and hasn't been displaced since. When a Test vacancy arose, selectors plumped for Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh as Ferguson fell from favour, and not helped by a serious knee injury.
This also curtailed his one-day career after he averaged 41.43 in 30 one-day internationals. He hasn’t donned national colours since April last year.
But the 27-year-old hoped he was now demonstrating a grit to his batting that could again attract Australian selectors.
"Whenever you're making runs, you tend to put your name forward," he said.
"It's not obviously a conscious thing to just focus on yourself and try and put your name forward.
"By focusing on the team, you tend to get the results you're looking for and you tend to put your name up, so there is no doubt that runs catch the attention."
Ferguson was also rapt that SA could claim a winning day - the first in nine Shield days this season, which opened for the Redbacks with heavy losses to Queensland and Tasmania.
SA haven't won any of their past 18 Shield matches, a dark streak dating back to November 2010.
"The guys obviously had to look deep within ... if you haven't got it within you, you're going to struggle," Ferguson said.
- Australian Associated Press
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