Nathan Lyon's seven-month wait for a game will end at his former office in Adelaide on Monday, when NSW start their Sheffield Shield defence against Western Australia.
The Blues, who were crowned Shield champions when COVID-19 brought a premature end to the 2019-20 season, open their campaign at Gladys Elphick Park.
Lyon moved to Adelaide in 2010 and worked on the venue's centre wicket as a groundsman, the start of a meteoric rise that led to a Test call-up in 2011.
The offspinner has since captured 390 wickets from 96 Tests, leaving him on the cusp of two big milestones during Australia's upcoming four-Test series against India.
Lyon recently toured England with Australia's white-ball squad but hasn't played a competitive fixture since representing NSW in March.
"I'm itching to get back out there. This has been the longest break I've ever had in my cricket career," Lyon said.
The veteran and fellow tweakers rarely received much assistance from pitches in recent Shield seasons.
But spinners Ashton Agar and Lloyd Pope both claimed five-wicket hauls last week, while legspinner Mitchell Swepson's 4-66 from 45.2 overs helped Queensland secured a final-hour victory over Tasmania at Gladys Elphick Park.
"The wickets will keep taking spin. Obviously the venues down here are going to have a lot of traffic on them for the next little bit, I think it's a period of five weeks that we're playing Shield cricket here," Lyon said.
Lyon praised the efforts of Pope and Agar in round one, having worked closely with the latter in recent weeks.
The 32-year-old can't wait to square off against Agar, who is among the contenders to be his understudy against Virat Kohli's team.
"We did a lot of work together while in England then in quarantine together at Adelaide Oval," Lyon said.
"It's good to see he's getting some reward for all the hard work he's put in on the training field."
Mitchell Starc has been rested but the Blues won't be short of international experience, with captain Peter Nevill, Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson joining Lyon in their XI.
Victoria and Queensland both have a bye this week, while Tasmania meet South Australia at Karen Rolton Oval in the other match beginning on Monday.
Australian Associated Press