Following in the footsteps of Ed Cowan and Dan Christian, Forrest is the latest former Blue to prosper interstate, this time a move to Queensland that quickly paid off.
The 26-year-old debuted for the Bulls with a bang in October and is currently leading the Sheffield Shield run-scoring list with 581 at 58.10, including three centuries.
But Monday’s tri-series call-up still came out of the blue for Forrest who fully expected controversial omission Callum Ferguson to be rewarded for his one-day form.
Ferguson, who averages a superb 41 for Australia in 30 ODIs, has 286 one-day runs at 71.5 for South Australia this season – well in excess of Forrest’s 176 at 29.33.
But Forrest’s Shield success and form in the Big Bash League, captaining the Brisbane Heat, lifted him to national honours.
“It’s a massive surprise,” he said. “I guess if you’re scoring runs in any competition then you’re a chance but I thought I’d be more of a chance playing for Australian in a Test match given my Shield form, not that I thought I’d be close there.”
Forrest was quick to thank Queensland Cricket boss Graham Dixon on gaining selection – 18 months after the Bulls first came knocking.
At the time the Australia A batsman was contracted to NSW but made the jump after playing less than half of the 2010-11 season in both Shield and one-day cricket due to the quality of the Blues’ star-studded top-order.
“It was a no-brainer,” he said. “I remember the last time I got dropped and I remember my (one-day) stats – I was averaging 41 and striking at 88 (per 100 balls) and that still wasn’t good enough to get in the team.
“It was extremely frustrating. I think they saw me as a top-order player but when you have guys like (Phil) Hughes, (Usman) Khawaja and (David) Warner and (Simon) Katich who all bat up the top it was hard to find a spot.”
Like Heat team-mate Christian, who moved to Adelaide from Sydney, and Tasmania-based Test opener Cowan, Forrest said NSW’s strength showed how consistent he needed to be to play for Australia.
“I don’t hold anything against NSW,” he said. “They have a wealth of talent down there and I wasn’t good enough to crack it.”