Usman Khawaja could soon be plunged into the middle of the acrimonious pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the players' union, having been named captain of Australia A.
CA announced 14-man squads for the one-day and first-class legs of the tour of South Africa that starts on July 12.
Khawaja and vice-captain Glenn Maxwell headline the players selected, all of whom will be keen to impress in the whites ahead of this summer's Ashes.
However, there remains a question mark around their participation because the trip is the first tour covered in the next contract period. The current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expires on June 30.
If they remain deadlocked, CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) have the option of signing a short-term extension.
CA boss James Sutherland indicated last week that wasn't on the cards, essentially threatening players with the prospect of unemployment.
Stalled discussions between CA and the ACA have become tense during the past week.
Australia vice-captain David Warner fired back at Sutherland, noting 'if it gets to the extreme they might not have a team for the Ashes'.
The dispute is centred on CA's wish to ditch the revenue-sharing model that has shaped players' salaries since the first MoU was brokered 20 years ago.
'Selectors have chosen this squad irrespective and independent of the status of the MoU,' CA high-performance boss Pat Howard said of the Australia A tour.
'We are confident that there will be a resolution in place by 30 June.'
Khawaja was one of Australia's best and most consistent performers during the past two home summers but found himself out of favour during this year's four- Test series in India.
Maxwell is part of the incumbent Test XI, having crafted his maiden Test ton after being recalled to the side during the tour of India.
'Khawaja is a proven leader and has captained Australia A before,' chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.
'He will gel nicely with Glenn, who recently had some captaincy experience in the IPL and we believe will respond well to this extra responsibility.'
Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird and Mitchell Swepson, who all toured India earlier this year, will also feature in the two first-class games against South Africa A.
Allrounder Hilton Cartwright, who made his Test debut at the SCG this year, and swing specialist Chadd Sayers, who was on the cusp of a Test debut during the recent home summer, are also set to tour South Africa.
Travis Head, who has played 29 limited-overs games for Australia, is another member of the squad close to donning the baggy green.
Head will captain Australia A in the one-day section of the tour, playing alongside Moises Henriques, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson and Scott Boland.
Australia A four-day squad: Usman Khawaja (capt), Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey, Hilton Cartwright, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth.
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (capt), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Hilton Cartwright, Sam Heazlett, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth.