Blues captain Moises Henriques has backed teammate Mitchell Starc to have a huge Ashes summer once he makes his long-awaited return from the foot injury that has sidelined him since the Champions Trophy in June.
Starc has been training with his NSW teammates and is expected to play his first competitive match of the summer next month at the back-end of the domestic one-day competition, which begins for the Blues on Friday against Western Australia in Perth.
The blistering left-arm quick was forced home early from the four-Test series against India in March and scans following the Champions Trophy revealed the stress fracture in his right foot hadn't fully healed.
That cost him a spot in the two-Test tour of Bangladesh and the five-match ODI series in India, which Australia trails 3-0.
Despite Starc's lack of cricket in 2017, Henriques expected his good mate to be at his fiery best in time for the first Ashes Test on November 23 at the Gabba.
"You wouldn't want to be anyone facing him. We were in the nets the other day working on our bowling and I was coming in off the long run clocking the same speeds he was off three steps," Henriques said.
"We saw what he did for us a couple of years ago in the Matador [Cup], if he could come back and replicate that this year in the JLT Cup it'd be very nice. Not only for us competition-wise but for our other young bowlers to see how someone like that goes about his business.
"He is in great nick despite carrying a bit of an injury, but it's given him a longer time to actually get himself into really good shape, getting fit and strong. I'd be expecting some pretty special performances over the summer."
Henriques has overcome injury, shaking off the side strain that curtailed his ability to bowl for most of last summer.
He's expected to play in the Blues' season opener on Friday despite injuring his thumb in grade cricket at the weekend, and will then fly to India to link with Australia for the three-match T20 series against India.
The 30-year-old is one of a handful of players eyeing the all-rounder role at the Ashes this summer, although the exact structure of the playing squad is yet to be decided given Starc and fellow pace trio Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson could all be fit.
Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis are also potentially in the Ashes frame.
"Everyone would be in the mix. I'm not sure what would define who gets picked or not," Henriques said.
"If I do want to play for Australia I'm obviously going to have to bat well, bowl well and field well. First of all I have to be bowling well enough to bowl myself for long enough.
"My biggest concern is just taking away the end result and focusing on what I could do today to be a better cricketer tomorrow.
"Whether that's what I'm going to do in the nets or what I might be able to work on strategically ... I try to take away the actual selection-type things and just try to focus on what I can actually do right now to be a better cricketer.
"I figure if I'm doing all the small things right then that will take care of itself as well, and if it doesn't I don't get too disappointed."