The carrot has been dangled in front of Mike Hussey's face, albeit from halfway around the world.
The 37-year-old, retired, absent and sorely missed from the Australian team since the Sydney Test against Sri Lanka in the first week of January, would be welcomed back into the Test side if he answered an SOS to bat middle-order for the Ashes.
''We'd certainly listen to Mike Hussey if Mike Hussey came knocking at our door,'' said Australian coach Mickey Arthur on Tuesday. Whether the veteran, who remains in good form at domestic level, takes up the offer remains to be seen.
One thing is certain: Hussey's reassuring presence in the Australian batting line-up would be a major lift for a side that has struggled in India to piece together competitive totals.
And given the dearth of experience that has contributed to the internal upheaval within the squad on the subcontinent, an old head would be just the trick in England.
Hussey last week brushed off questioning about whether he would consider coming to the aid of the Australian team in India if asked by captain Michael Clarke. ''[No], I don't think so.''
Whether he could be convinced for a one-off comeback mission in the Ashes, though, will be the source of more intrigue given Arthur's comment on Tuesday.
Certainly, Hussey is still good enough. In his final Test summer, in which he made a shock retirement announcement, he scored three centuries - two against South Africa and one against Sri Lanka - leaving the international arena at the top of his game.
The runscoring continues for Western Australia. In his last two Sheffield Shield matches he peeled off an unbeaten 99 and 96. But he would be 38 by the time the first Test against England begins at Trent Bridge on July 10.
''Yeah, we miss him. We miss the aura of Ricky Ponting,'' he said. ''But I'm hoping that these younger players will take over that mantle in time. They're nowhere near ready yet.
''But in time to come they've got to step up and take on those mantles because they're going to be the role models for the next generation of cricketers.
''I'm confident we've got the best players here. These guys just need to be given that confidence and just need to stand up. I'm pretty sure they will.''
Meanwhile, Arthur said Clarke had not given up hope of playing in the fourth Test, starting on Friday, despite suffering from a recurrence of back troubles in Mohali.
''He is in a bit of pain, but with Michael Clarke you never say never,'' he said. ''He will give himself every opportunity to get himself ready for the Test … That will pan out closer to the time and we will give him every opportunity to get up for it because he is such a vital cog in our team.''