Incumbent Test batsman Joe Burns has opened up about the struggle with a fatigue disorder that threatened to derail his hopes of featuring in the Ashes.
Refreshed Ashes hopeful Joe Burns is ready to fight for his Test spot, having sought the counsel of Darren Lehmann as he prepared to link up with the Australia A squad in England.
Burns, who had been floored by a form of chronic fatigue syndrome caused by a viral infection, departed Brisbane on Wednesday after receiving medical clearance then a call-up from selectors.
The Queenslander top-scored with 180 during Australia's most recent Test, a big win over Sri Lanka, but now forms part of an intriguing Ashes selection showdown sparked by the returns of Steve Smith and David Warner.
Burns and Marcus Harris are the frontrunners to partner Warner at the top of the order.
Australia A now play two first-class games before facing Australia in a four-day contest starting on July 23, which will determine the visiting XI for the Ashes opener that begins at Edgbaston on August 1.
Burns, who returned home two months ago after cutting short a county stint, has been training for two weeks.
"The back end of the home summer, I was really struggling. I put it down to general fatigue ... I thought I was just getting old," the 29-year-old told reporters in Brisbane.
"The season was really tough physically. I was constantly drained and just trying to push through it ... I knew something wasn't right.
"The hardest thing was knowing you feel that way without understanding why. So to get diagnosed, get some clarity (has helped) ... I'm feeling a hell of a lot better now."
Burns, who was parachuted into Australia's XI for a Johannesburg Test in the aftermath of last year's Cape Town cheating scandal, recently picked the brain of Lehmann while preparing to press his case for Ashes selection.
"I teed up a hit with Boof," Burns said.
"I always keep in close contact with him. I've got a really good relationship with him, obviously my first Queensland coach, first Australia coach.
"We just focused on really simple stuff.
"I've done a lot of training. I've been to the UK plenty of times, so I know the conditions. It's just a matter of trying to show that you're at the top of your game."
Even at his most debilitated, the Ashes dream was always at the forefront of the batsman's mind.
Burns has played 16 Tests but none against England.
"The Ashes, it's almost like the Olympic Games," the right-hander said.
"What gave me a lot of confidence was the fact I was able to get through the whole of last summer with the same symptoms and the mindset that I'm only going to better than last summer.
"Also the understanding of why I was feeling that way."