A stern headmasterly pep talk from national selector John Inverarity has helped Brad Hogg get back on track as he prepares for the $800,000 Big Bash semifinal at the SCG tomorrow.
As Perth Scorchers coach Justin Langer weighs up whether to axe Pat Cummins to make way for returning quick Nathan Coulter-Nile, Hogg revealed that his uncharacteristic performance against the Melbourne Stars had earnt him Inverarity's ire.
The veteran spinner, who turns 43 on Thursday and will return to the ground where he made his WA debut 20 years ago, is eager to represent Australia at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month.
But Hogg said that Inverarity, while confirming that he remained a candidate for the tournament, instructed him to improve on his mediocre 0-36 against the Stars.
"John said I am in the frame but he also said after the Melbourne game that I had better shape up for the semi and final," Hogg said.
"I was disappointed with myself because I was not focused on the event and got too far ahead of myself.
"I was not so concerned about the end result of 36 off three overs but more the way I went about it.
"During the whole tournament I haven't bowled a full toss or a wide (actually two) but after getting the phone call from John Inverarity I thought the dream or the rollercoaster could keep going on a bit longer."
The match against the Sixers may be Hogg's last chance to impress the selectors, though he said Glenn Maxwell and impressive 20-year-old leg-spinner James Muirhead, who claimed four wickets in the T20 series against England, remained the frontrunners for the World T20.
"I would love to represent my country again but Muirhead is bowling extremely well and if he or a younger player was doing well, Australia have to move forward," Hogg said.
"I accept that. If I am the man for the job I will get selected but if someone youthful is doing the job I would go for him over myself."
The Scorchers are likely to play at least two spinners against the Sixers, who they beat in a super over in the qualifying round, with Coulter-Nile set to push out Cummins.
New-ball bowler Jason Behrendorff and death-overs expert Alfonso Thomas are likely to remain in the team given their specialist roles.
The Sixers will add England batsmen Michael Lumb and Ravi Bopara while Steve O'Keefe may play after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Perth and the WACA will be guaranteed at least $800,000 should they win tomorrow given that the Big Bash finalists qualify for the lucrative Champions League in India this year.
The Scorchers have competed in the past two events but have had significantly more success off the field by receiving massive payments despite winning just one match in the two tours.
The Scorchers would receive first-round Champions League prize money of about $230,000 while the WACA would receive a $570,000 participation fee.
I would love to represent my country again "Brad Hogg