Considered a chance for this summer's Test series against Sri Lanka, injury-plagued Australian pace veteran Ryan Harris admits he will be battling to be in contention for next year's Ashes series in England.
Once one of the first picked for the Test team, the 33-year-old could not hide his frustration over a shoulder complaint that may keep him out of national colours for another seven months.
"If I am not right by the Ashes then something is drastically wrong, put it that way," Harris told AAP.
The Queensland workhorse admitted he felt mixed emotions flicking onto the TV coverage of Australia's Test series against world No.1 South Africa.
Never has Harris seen such depth in Australia's fast bowling stocks.
And never has Harris seen his chances of a Test return so distant.
"I haven't seen anything like it (depth) since the days of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz running around," Harris said.
"I hate watching because I want to be playing.
"I support the guys but this injury has got on my nerves without using words that can't be printed.
"I am well down the pecking order now.
"However, I have come back from rock bottom before."
A heart-to-heart with Australian captain Michael Clarke during NSW's recent Sheffield Shield clash in Brisbane has further steeled Harris as he makes "baby steps" toward a return.
He expects to return to "full tilt" in the practice nets in six weeks.
"Michael said `get fit and if you are playing well you know you are a chance of being picked'," Harris said.
"That is very encouraging. And I know he likes the way I bowl.
"But I know it will be hard to crack back into the side."
Harris - who has 47 wickets from 12 Tests to date at 23.63 - admits the Australian selection panel's rotation policy may be his best chance at adding to his impressive record.
"They are keen to rotate guys and with their depth why not?," he said.
"That gives guys a chance but nine times out of 10 they will play their best team because they don't want to lose Test matches so that makes it harder for me."