Australian captain Michael Clarke could return to cricket this week, but first he has to pass a Tuesday fitness test.
NSW coach Trevor Bayliss is confident Clarke will have no trouble proving his availability ahead of Wednesday's opening Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania at Blacktown Oval.
Clarke had to miss the one-day series in India after another recurrence of his back injury.
It was expected Clarke would return for the Blues' second Shield game against Victoria at the MCG from November 6.
Last week, Cricket Australia said Clarke was making good progress and could be available for the Tasmania game.
Provided Clarke is fit, he is a certain starter for the first Ashes Test from November 21 in Brisbane.
Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Steve Smith will also play in Brisbane, but several other batsmen are trying to stake their claims.
David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja and George Bailey are all in contention.
WA coach and former Test star Justin Langer wants there to be continuity in the Test team and for selectors to pick some experienced players.
Langer also wants players to truly earn their Test berths.
"As long as I can remember, there used to be that saying in Australian cricket - it's harder to get out of the team than it is to be into the side," he said.
"I'm not sure that's been the case over the last period.
"In the past, if you wanted to get in the side, you had to be so good, you had to be knocking so hard.
"Everyone is saying the same sorts of things, but it's nice to see some competition developing.
"I still think we can get a lot more competitive, by players developing at an elite level at Shield cricket.