Marsh One Day Cup - SA v TAS
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Caleb Jewell of Tasmania bats during the Marsh One Day Cup match between South Australia and Tasmania at Allan Border Field, on September 28, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Marsh One Day Cup - SA v TAS

Caleb Jewell has got his summer off to the best possible start, belting 126 runs from just 97 balls during Wednesday's Marsh One Day Cup opener against Tasmania.

The innings, which was controlled despite the strike rate of almost 130, saw the Tigers able to chase down a seemingly competitive score of 220 under lights at Allan Border Field in just 32.5 overs.

It was an innings which has set the tone for the entire summer, and picks up where he left off before last summer's Big Bash.

Jewell was in the top ten for run-scorers in last season's Sheffield Shield winding up with 508 runs at 36.28. Those numbers may not seem all that impressive on the surface, but the potential to be so much higher was there before the season was interrupted over the Christmas and New Year period for the Big Bash League.

Jewell's innings after the Big Bash in the first class competition were 36, 0, 27, 6 and 44.

In what could only be described as a let down given his first half of the season, 113 runs in five innings saw him average just 22.6 over the final three matches of Tasmania's season.

Before that though, he was all about runs, but more importantly, consistency with the bat in hand - something Australia will desperately be chasing at the top of the order when the time comes to change opening batsmen.

Usman Khawaja and David Warner have the spots safely locked away for the time being, but it's clear they are both closer to retirement than not at the age of 36 and 35 respectively.

Warner has recently spoken out about his potential desire top continue playing through to the 2023-24 home summer, ensuring he will see in the 2023 Ashes series away to England, as well as the 2023 ODI World Cup in India.

When Khawaja will call stumps on his career is anyone's guess, but the number of talented prospects lining up around to take over the number one and two positions in the Australian team looks thin on the ground.

The scores before the BBL for Jewell saw him average north of 40, with 395 runs at 43.8, and while only a single century will worry some, he went past 50 a further three times - almost once every two innings and kept things moving at a reasonable clip, something that has become paramount in modern day Test cricket to keep pressure on bowling attacks.

Of course, Henry Hunt of South Australia, who scored 601 runs at 42.92 in last year's Sheffield Shield, Jewell's Tasmanian teammate Tim Ward, who scored 552 runs at almost 40 and Bryce Street out of Queensland are all going to be candidates, as will be the usual suspects Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw.

Burns himself is now 33 and seemingly on the wrong side of the age gap for a recall, while Renshaw has transitioned to be an all-position player with the ability to play up and down the order.

That could make him a valuable commodity in the Australian team, but you'd have to expect at least one of Ward, Hunt or Jewell could be next on the radar to open the batting for Australia.

Jewell's summer-starting runs came in the white ball format, but runs are runs, and this summer is likely to be a virtual three-way shootout to be next in line to take over from Warner and Khawaja, given the fact the duo could both be done in terms of the international game by the end of next summer.

In a relatively stable Australian Test team, the opening positions do genuinely appear to be the only questions moving forward in the coming two or so years, and so runs will be paramount for the trio this season.

It's hard to argue that starting with a century no matter the format will do wonders for moving him to the top of the early pecking order.