Travis Head looks set to benefit after Australian selectors ran out of patience with Matthew Wade and dumped him from the Test squad to tour South Africa.
In-form South Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey has replaced Wade for the three-Test tour in March, which is still yet to be confirmed and subject to suitable biosecurity arrangements.
Wade will instead act as vice-captain of Australia's Twenty20 side when they tour New Zealand at the same time.
Will Pucovski is expected to have recovered from a shoulder injury that saw him ruled out of this month's Gabba Test loss to India and, after debuting at the top of the order, could return in the middle order if selectors stick with incumbent opener Marcus Harris.
Moises Henriques is the other man vying for the middle-order spot vacated by Wade, who selectors opted for over Head for the final two Tests against India.
But with selector Trevor Hohns stressing that Carey had primarily been included as a back-up to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, Heads appears to be back in demand.
"Matthew in our view hasn't done enough over quite a few Test matches now," Hohns said of Wade, who is currently on a streak of 14 innings without a Test half-century.
"I'm not being unfair to him; he would recognise that fact and as a senior player we expect a little bit more.
Head, 27, has averaged nearly 40 across his 19-Test career while 33-year-old Wade, who began his Test career as a wicketkeeper, has averaged 29.87 in 36 Tests.
"In Travis's case he to us has a little bit more upside and we've given him a bit of a vote of confidence to win his spot back," Hohns said.
"He'll be a frontline contender (to bat at No.5 in the first Test against South Africa)."
Hohns went in to bat for under-fire captain Tim Paine, saying his position was never in doubt despite the shock 2-1 series loss to India.
But he did endorse Carey as the man to eventually replace him with the gloves.
"He's there definitely as back-up keeper, but the current form he's in doesn't exclude him (from being selected as a specialist batsman)," Hohns said of Carey, who scored a BBL century last week.
"In the last 18 months he's got better and better as a player; our thinking is reasonably clear there (that he'll replace Paine once he retires), without actually rubber stamping it."
Hohns also said there was some consideration to recall fit-again fast bowler Jhye Richardson for the Test tour, before the decision was made to welcome him back "gradually" via the T20 format.
Instead, quick Mark Steketee has earned his first tour call-up, the Queenslander second behind Richardson (27 wickets) with 22 scalps for the Brisbane Heat in this season's Big Bash League.
TEST SQUAD: Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
Australian Associated Press