Robert Key admits that the season-opener at Lord's between the MCC and Durham is more about individuals getting noticed than the result of the match.
Captain Key is one of half a dozen England hopefuls who will line up for the MCC against the county champions over the next four days.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, struggling batsman Ian Bell join Key, and fellow performance squad inclusions James Foster and Sajid Mahmood will all be looking to impress watching selectors.
"It is generally about people's own agendas and you are stupid if you think it's anything else," said Key.
"Of course, you want to win, but every player here will be thinking 'it's my opportunity to show what I can do'. But that's a good thing to have.
"These games, as captain, you are pretty much moving the field and making sure everyone gets an opportunity.
"It was the same on the England Lions trip. I feel part of my job in these games is to make sure everyone gets that chance."
29-year-old Key has not played for England since the successful 2004-05 series in South Africa, and is now desperate to add to his 15 Test caps.
"I see myself as a realist, some say a cynic, but I just see this for what it is," he said. "It's fantastic just to be in the frame.
"There is no point getting too far ahead of myself.
"There's a lot else going on: there's captaining my county, this game, a financial crisis at Kent, bowlers getting injured and that's your focus, not what might happen in a couple of months."
Key is one of those tipped to captain England in the World Twenty20 in June, but is not yet counting on even being in the final 15-man squad.
"Everyone is saying 'well done' but it doesn't make much difference if you're the 29th man, does it?" he added.
"You try not to think about it too much because the fact is I could potentially be captain, could potentially be opening the batting or could potentially not be doing anything in it and not make the squad.
"So I could waste a lot of time thinking about what might not happen."