On his 35th birthday, Adam Voges was uncapped in Test cricket and expected to stay that way. The last Australian batsman to debut at such an age - Ken Eastwood - did it so long ago that overs were still eight balls long. But on his 36th birthday, Voges will not only be in Bangladesh as part of Australia's Test team, he will be just one Steven Smith injury or illness away from becoming Australia's 46th Test captain.
It is a remarkable development for Voges, but then it has been a year of remarkable change for Australia. Of the squad that began the Ashes tour Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris have retired, David Warner is injured, and Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood are being rested. When national selector Rod Marsh named the touring party for the Bangladesh series, he felt there was only one man who could be Smith's vice-captain.
"If Steven Smith did get crook, it would have been very tough to have anyone else captain the side but Voges," Marsh said at the time. "He's had a lot of experience at captaincy, he's got a cool head, and I think he'll be an excellent vice-captain for Steven on his first tour of duty away from home as captain of the Australian Test team."
And so it is that Voges becomes Smith's key sounding board on his first tour as Australia's full-time Test captain, standing in for the appointed vice-captain Warner, who broke his thumb during the recent ODIs in England. It caps off an extraordinary 2015 for Voges, who in May became the oldest man to score a century on Test debut, against West Indies in Kingston.
"It's been incredible really," Voges told ESPNcricinfo ahead of the Bangladesh tour. "To think back to six months ago, I hadn't played any Test matches, now I've played seven and been part of an Ashes series and I'm getting an opportunity to vice-captain Australia, which I see as a huge honour. I understand it's just a temporary role for this tour, but I'm rapt to get that appointment and I'm certainly looking forward to it.
"It's a new group. We've had a lot of great players retire from the team. It's a transitional phase. It will be Steve's first tour as captain, so I see my role as helping him out as much as I can. If he wants to, he can bounce ideas off me, or I can throw my own ideas to him, but I just want to give him all the support that he needs. I think it's as simple as that. Hopefully I can score a lot of runs while I'm there as well, and provide support for him."
Halfway through the Ashes series, Voges seemed by no means a certain selection for this Bangladesh series, having scored 31, 1, 25, 16 and 0 in the first three Tests in England. But a stronger finish to the series, in which he made half-centuries in each of the final two Tests at Trent Bridge and The Oval, combined with the exodus of experience from Australia's line-up after the series, meant he was kept on.
If Voges can find a way to thrive in the challenging conditions in Bangladesh he might even be setting himself up as the new Chris Rogers, a domestic veteran who can provide valuable experience to the Test team for a couple of years in his late 30s. Rogers played all but one of his 25 Tests after he turned 35, and remained such a valuable contributor that in this year's Ashes campaign he was named Australia's Player of the Series.
"I'd love to be able to do that," Voges said. "I've watched Buck's career over the last couple of years and he managed to go out on top of his game at the end of the Ashes. If I could emulate something like that, that would be ideal.
"The fact that I've been picked after a pretty average Ashes series shows that the selectors have shown a bit of faith with me, and I'm looking forward to repaying that. At the end of the day it will come down to runs scored and how I perform. But if I can get a chance to do that through this summer, it's something that I'm certainly looking forward to."
That said, Voges knows that Australia's challenge in Bangladesh will be far from easy for a squad lacking in Test experience. Last year Clarke's men were crushed 2-0 by Pakistan on the slow, turning pitches in the UAE, and similar surfaces could be on offer in Bangladesh, where the home team have defeated South Africa, India and Pakistan in one-day series this year.
"I don't think anyone is underestimating them," Voges said. "We've seen their results in the last little while and they're certainly on the improve. Beating anyone in their own backyard is hard. I don't think we'll be underestimating them at all. They've played some excellent cricket against teams like South Africa. We know we'll be in for a tough series."