Peter Nevill’s biggest fan was Chris Hartley's mentor
IT IS ironic the head selector gushing over new Australian keeper Peter Nevill was also a major influence on the man gunning for his spot in the Test team - the forgotten Chris Hartley.
National selection panel boss Rod Marsh was so impressed with Nevill's effort in the day-night third Test against New Zealand in Adelaide - top-scoring for the match with 66 and being outstanding behind the stumps - he said the gloveman was in line for a batting promotion.
The New South Welshman is tipped to bat at No.6 in the first Test against the West Indies in Hobart starting on Thursday.
That means Hartley, now Queensland's all-time leading dismissals holder at first-class level with 522, may have missed his chance to fulfill a lifelong dream and wear the baggy green.
The 33-year-old is playing for the Bulls against NSW in a Sheffield Shield game in Mackay which started on Sunday, hoping to add to his dismissals tally, and also the 240 runs he has posted at an average of 48 this season.
Despite continually being overlooked by the national selectors, Hartley said it was Marsh who had a strong influence on his early career.
"It was Rod Marsh at the Australian Institute of Sport in 2000 who taught me hard work and discipline is everything - that your preparation needs to be rock solid going into every game," Hartley told APN.
Hartley also has the most first-class catches for Queensland (506), overtaking his predecessor Wade Seccombe who finished with 501.
The Bulls' stand-in captain knows he is good enough to be in the Australian Test team, so right now it's about continuing to work hard while patiently waiting for that chance.
"I just have to keep pushing on. I know selection in the Australian team is not a right, it's a privilege," Hartley said.
"I know I'm good enough to play for Australia, but if I'm not getting picked then I still see playing for Queensland as a great privilege."
Despite a slip-up that saw the Bulls lose by seven wickets to NSW last round, the Queenslanders are equal third on the Shield ladder.
Evergreen Bulls all-rounder James Hopes is playing his 100th first-class match for Queensland against the Blues, becoming the 15th player to achieve the milestone.
The Bulls made two changes to the side that lost to NSW, bringing in pacemen Luke Feldman and Billy Stanlake for Ben Cutting (rested) and all-rounder Jack Wildermuth.