Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale
Six weeks ago, Joe Mennie was happily flying under the radar, much as he has for the past few years. A call-up for Australia A was exciting, but his attitude remained the same. "I'm not one for putting myself out there massively," Mennie told ESPNcricinfo at the time. "I'm at the stage where not a lot of people, unless you really know cricket, know my name. I'm not too dissatisfied with that."
But that desire sat at odds with his other goal: to play for Australia. Now, that is about to become a reality for Mennie, who has been named in Australia's ODI squad to tour South Africa later this month. His name will not only be known, but will be emblazoned on the back of an Australia shirt. It is a scenario that is yet to sink in for Mennie.
"I was very shocked actually," Mennie told reporters in Adelaide on Monday. "I got the call from [national selector] Rod Marsh and I didn't know what to say, there was a bit of silence on both ends from us. It was something I didn't see coming and something I'm very happy with and looking forward to."
Mennie is one of three uncapped fast bowlers picked in the ODI squad, along with his South Australia team-mate Daniel Worrall and Victoria's Chris Tremain. All three having been performing well for Australia A over the past few weeks in Queensland, and with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood rested for the South Africa tour, space opened up for some fresh faces.
Perhaps the most surprising thing for Mennie is that his chance has arrived in one-day cricket, which has not been his strongest format. Last summer in the Matador Cup, Mennie picked up seven wickets at 50.85 and conceded more than five an over, while he topped the wickets tally in the Sheffield Shield. However, he believes the call-up has come at the best possible time.
"The body is feeling good, the ball is coming out the best it ever has, so from that point of view I'm hitting my straps pretty well and probably you'd say the form of my career," Mennie said. "The last couple of years I've hit my straps and found my game. I was really happy to get the opportunity to represent Australia A and then to get the call-up for the one-day tournament coming up is very pleasing."
Although Mennie does not possess the sheer pace preferred by Australia's selectors - he tends to operate around the 130kph mark - his consistency and accuracy have been key features of his game over the past few seasons. At least his record in South Africa is encouraging, if brief: five wickets at 14.60 for the Perth Scorchers during the 2012 Champions League T20.
Stepping up to international cricket will be a different challenge for Mennie, who will find himself competing with Worrall, Tremain, John Hastings and Scott Boland for the positions as specialist fast men during the South African trip.
"That's the next test for me, going over and putting what I do well into practice in that next level," Mennie said. "That's where a lot of people come undone. That's the next challenge for me. It's about me performing and doing what I do."