After something of a false start to her international career, NSW and Sydney Thunder batter Naomi Stalenberg is eager to make the most of another chance with the Australian squad.
Stalenberg was named in Australia's T20I squad for the upcoming tri-series in India on Wednesday, once of four inclusions to the 14-player squad alongside captain Meg Lanning, fellow Thunder player Nicola Carey and Renegades allrounder Sophie Molineux.
The 23-year-old made her international debut in a T20I at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day two years ago. In that match – against upcoming rivals India – she wasn't required to bat as the home side scored 5-140, her only contribution a catch in the deep as India claimed a five-wicket upset win.
Her services weren't called upon in the two matches that followed in Melbourne and Sydney, and when Australia's T20I squad for the next tour was revealed, her name was missing from the sheet.
But Stalenberg believes that brief taste of the highest level is what has fueled her through the two home summers since, as her performances during Rebel WBBL|03 once again had national selector Shawn Flegler on the phone.
"It's an amazing feeling (to be selected), I had a really good WBBL campaign and it's great to feel rewarded," Stalenberg said in Sydney on Wednesday.
"I had a taste two years ago and it was quite disappointing only getting one game and not getting much of a go.
"But it was what I needed to come away and become a better player, to knuckle down and work hard and become who I want to be."
Good form from Thunder top-order batters Rachael Haynes, Rachael Priest and Alex Blackwell meant Stalenberg had to be patient when it came to her chances to shine in WBBL|03.
But she was particularly impressive on the occasions when the top-order failed to fire, most notably in her 30-ball 41 against the Adelaide Strikers in Wagga and 41-ball 48 against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
Those performances caught the eye of Australia coach Matthew Mott, who noted the influence the WBBL had on the number of players putting their hands up for international selection.
"That's been the great thing about the WBBL, just how much cricket Stalenberg's been able to play and the influence it's had on her," Mott told cricket.com.au last week.
"Both Stalenberg and Carey have had opportunities with us in the past and are continually in our eyeline, so it's good to see them putting their names up there."
Another two years of cricket under her belt since that match at Adelaide Oval has Stalenberg feeling more mature and confident in her game. But it's the significant shift that's happened in the women's game over the past two years, that has seen the NSW Breakers become a fully professional squad, that she sees as the major contributing factor to the improvements in her game.
"The biggest difference is the professionalization of the women's game, it's been good for our girls to have a really good preseason and be paid to do it.
"From a physical point of view that's definitely made the difference for me and helped my mental game as well.
"I'm hitting the ball cleaner and I've been worked with Dom Thornely, an ex-NSW player who's become our assistant coach, and he's been really good for me and helped me become a much more mature player."
Given the outstanding form of Australia's best batters in WBBL|03, with Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Beth Mooney, Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy all high on the runs table – and the return of Lanning from injury – Stalenberg knows it will be a challenge to break into the Southern Stars' XI during the tri-series against India and England.
"But going to India, I'll take that as confidence," she said. "They've got Meg Lanning back, Villani is smashing it, it will be a challenge to get into that top six but being over there and being around the group I think will be really good for me."
And while she's never played in India, Stalenberg can draw on the experiences of two Sri Lanka tours with the Australia A squad.
"I've heard it's a little different (in India) and playing on the subcontinent is going to be a challenge but I'm looking forward to it," she said.
Australia depart for India of March 3 for the three-match ODI series, with the T20I players to link up with the squad ahead of the first 20-over match in Mumbai on March 22.
Australia tour of India
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 8
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 6
First ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 12
Second ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 15
Third ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 18
First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22
Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23
Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25
Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26
Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28
Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29
Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31For all WBBL stories