Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has admitted he would not turn down an emergency Ashes call-up.
The 38-year-old retired from Test cricket in December after a stellar career where he made 13,378 Test runs in 168 matches at an average of 51.85.
Ponting is in England playing county cricket for Surrey and the Tasmanian - who skippered his side to 48 Test triumphs - conceded that if asked, it would be hard for him to turn down a call from his country.
"Mate, they will have reserve batsmen around should anything like that happen so I don't think they will be needing me. You wouldn't say no, would you, if that call came and I would never say never, but you have to say a call-up like that now is extremely unlikely," Ponting told the Daily Mail.
"I won't be in the changing room but I'll be keeping a close eye on what's going on, that's for sure.
"It won't be a case of keeping my distance from the Australian blokes or letting them get on with it.
"I have a lot of good friends in the side and I'll be catching up with them and talking about what's going on. If Michael Clarke wants to run anything by me he knows where I am. There's nothing official in place but I'll only be down the road."
Ponting was hoping to play in this summer's Ashes but poor form against South Africa meant he left the Test arena earlier than he wanted to.
"This was the series I was playing on for without a doubt," Ponting admitted. "I felt Australia would have been a stronger side in this Ashes with both me and Mike Hussey in the side.
"The Ashes are the pinnacle and England is the greatest tour to be on. But the bottom line is I just wasn't good enough any more to be a part of this team. I knew that."