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Callum Ferguson better for years of pain

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Callum Ferguson believes he is a better batsman now than when he averaged more than 40 for Australia in one-dayers five years ago.

Ferguson, along with opener Joe Burns, was called into a extended 13-man Australian squad on Monday for the second Test against South Africa in Hobart.

Middle order batsman Adam Voges is also in doubt with a hamstring injury, opening the door for 31-year-old Ferguson to potentially make his long-awaited Test debut on Saturday.

And the South Australian believes he is more ready now than ever.

"I'm definitely a better player than when I played one-day cricket six or seven years ago for a long period," he said.

"And certainly since my last game five or six years years ago."

Ferguson was earmarked as a potential future Test player at a young age, however injuries have ruined his chances.

A permanent fixture in Australia's limited-overs side in 2009, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Champions Trophy final that year and missed the following summer.

He worked his way back into the ODI side for a handful of games in 2011, but has not been seen on the international stage since - despite scoring 663 runs at 41.43 in 30 one-dayers.

He came closest to a Test call-up when he was named in an extended squad for tumultuous 2010-11 home Ashes series, but was never picked to play.

He has averaged more than 50 for the past three Sheffield Shield seasons, and scored a century in the Redbacks' opening-round win over Western Australia this summer.

"I think at different stages you do have doubts (if you'll play Test cricket)," he said.

"You go through a couple periods where you've missed a whole year of cricket with both knees and you wonder if when I come back you know which end of the bat to hold."

However he believes its steeled him for his latest opportunity.

"As a professional I've certainly learnt a lot over the journey," he said.

"I've played under a lot of fantastic cricketers and under some fantastic coaches and with some really professional players and certainly that rubs off.

"I'm certainly feeling like I've learnt a lot throughout that period and in a really good space to have myself physically, mentally and technically prepared for a Test match."

One of Ferguson's first phone calls on getting the news was to Australian coach Darren Lehmann, who captained him in the early stages of his career at the Redbacks.

Lehmann also believes Ferguson's experience could be beneficial if he is called into the side.

"He's obviously a good player Callum and knows his game really well," Lehmann said.

"Over the last three or four years he has been close on various occasions and then had the knee injuries at the wrong time for him.

"So, he'll go really well if he gets his chance."

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