Cameron Bancroft said he kept himself focused on returning to Australia's national side by packing his Baggy Green cap when he went out to England to participate in a county stint for Durham.
Bancroft was banned from international cricket for his involvement in the ball-tampering saga in the Cape Town Test last year.
He was caught on camera trying to rub the surface of the ball with sandpaper - an action which saw him being excluded from the team in the subsequent game and suspended by Cricket Australia for nine months.
The then-captain of the Australian side Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner both received year-long bans from the game for their role in the event that is often deemed as the lowest point in the country's cricket history.
The three chief instigators in the incident have now all found themselves back in the Ashes squad as Australia prepare to battle it out with hosts England in the first Test of the five-match series at Edgbaston on Thursday.
While the return of Smith and Warner was widely anticipated given their prolific record in the recently concluded World Cup, Bancroft's comeback is somewhat surprising.
The 26-year-old claimed he did not abandon hopes of donning the national colours again as he held his prized Australian cap close to him even during the county season with Durham.
"It's something you're obviously very proud of," Bancroft said in an interview with the Cricket Australia website.
"It's a very prestigious item to have and you take good care of it because it means something to you... and being able to see that is obviously really good to focus your goals, and where you want to be going," he added.
"To look at it and go 'yeah I'm playing cricket but there's something bigger I eventually want to be able to get back to'."
The opening batsman said the ball-tampering controversy led him to indulge in introspection and reassess his priorities in life.
He admitted his mistake and hoped it would help to make the necessary adjustments to his approach to the game.
"I think being serious about cricket is important, but I think it's also about being able to realise the game is just a game of cricket," he elaborated.
"One of the big lessons that I learnt last year was about being true to yourself.
"There is no doubt that I wasn’t as true to myself as I could have been at times (but) you learn from mistakes that you make, and you try and be better.
"I made a mistake, and I'll learn from it and move forward and get better," he added.