Bird ready for Ashes if Starc is scratched
Having occupied the role of reserve paceman for a full year, it's safe to say Jackson Bird is ready should Mitchell Starc be unavailable for the Boxing Day Ashes Test.
Bird has been running drinks for Australia since his most recent Test, which came a year ago at the MCG.
The right-armer has been part of the Test squad throughout the year but couldn't break into Steve Smith's XI when Starc broke down during a tour of India, likewise when Josh Hazlewood suffered a side strain during a series in Bangladesh.
Bird's long way appears set to end with Starc expected to be ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test because of a bruised heel.
"I have to prepare as if I'm going to play and be ready to go if any of those guys don't come up," Bird told reporters on Saturday.
"I've been ready to go for 12 months basically.
"It's a little bit frustrating to not get an opportunity … but I'm realistic about where I sit and the fast bowlers ahead of me.
"You can only have 11 players in the team and we've got such good fast bowlers at the moment."
Starc, Hazlewood and Pat Cummins were all rested from bowling duties in the MCG nets on Saturday.
"Mitch has still got a couple of days training to recover or try to recover … it'd be unbelievable to play an Ashes Test on Boxing Day," Bird said.
Wicketkeeper Tim Paine is yet to join the squad after his father-in-law suffered a stroke but he is expected to be behind the stumps on Boxing Day
Australia is aiming to take a 4-0 lead in the series after it reclaimed the urn in Perth.
"Tim is probably one of the most mentally strong players I've ever played with," Bird said of his Tasmania teammate.