Jhye Richardson couldn't help but doubt whether he would return to Australia's Test squad during the past two and a half years of injury hell.
Richardson need worry no longer, having demanded selection in a 15-man Ashes squad named on Wednesday with his eye-catching match haul of 8 for 61 at the Gabba last week.
He made his Test debut at the same ground in 2019, taking the new ball while enhancing his reputation as the nation's most exciting young paceman.
Richardson was earmarked for big things at both the 2019 ODI World Cup and Ashes, only to dislocate his right shoulder while landing awkwardly during a fielding mishap in Sharjah.
The 25-year-old weathered several setbacks but is now back to his best, looming as the most likely fast bowler to step up whenever selectors opt to rejig the triumvirate of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
"An injury like that, that sets you back for so long. There's certainly some of those negative thoughts that come in," Richardson told reporters in Perth. "Whether or not I'm going to get back to where I was.
"Or could I swing the ball or have my variations or whatever? Getting consecutive games in, it makes it all worth it...to know that I can bowl that many overs, relatively unscathed, I think it puts me in a good place."
Richardson has snagged 16 wickets at 12.50 this Sheffield Shield season, delivering 85.2 overs in total. He spooked selectors and medicos in October, suffering a back spasm while warming up during a match in Perth.
But he quickly got the green light to resume bowling then made a big impression on George Bailey last week, when the chairman of selectors was in the stands as Richardson bowled his side to a Shield victory.
"Getting pretty excited by Jhye," Bailey said. "Physically I think he looks as strong as I've seen ever seen him...he's starting to build some resilience into his body.
"One particular spell was really impressive. He ended up getting the wickets of Marnus [Labuschagne] and Joe Burns, who both commented that it was impressive quality."
Bailey shared news of Richardson's call-up with the fast bowler during that same game, putting him on the cusp of fulfilling a childhood dream.
"It's one of the biggest series that you can possibly be involved in. Super exciting," said Richardson. The focus is, if I do get a game, to just make sure that I'm doing everything that I have done up until this point. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."