Matt Parkinson was a regular feature in England's camp on the winter tours of Sri Lanka and India, enduring bio-bubble fatigue for three long months and waiting with bated breath for a chance to showcase his skills. However, that opportunity never came, and the rookie was limited to ferrying electrolytes.
The leggie concedes that he withstood some "dark moments" during the lengthy stint spent on the sub-continental sidelines as he now shines in the white-ball series against Pakistan.
"It was a tough three months not playing this winter, there were some dark moments in rooms in India," Parkinson told host broadcaster, SkySports.
"Obviously you're very grateful to be on an England tour, and it has done me wonders, but you want to play and be involved. I didn't think I'd got any better; I didn't think 'this is a waste', but I got down very easily.
"You can get really, really down, but I realised when I got back home, after about a month, how much I'd improved.
"To have had those three months working there, bowling each day to the likes of Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and then the white-ball lads, I don't think you appreciate it when you're there,' reflected Parkinson, who won praise from head coach Chris Silverwood for his hard work and positive attitude despite warming the bench.
"People were saying to me 'oh, this looks different' and I think it takes time for it to set in and takes time for you to see. Other people can see it straight away.
"I'm very grateful I went on that trip. I probably wasn't when I came back, but I am now.
"If you'd asked me two weeks ago if I'd have played five internationals for England this summer and taken some wickets I'd have probably laughed at you."
Several cricketers feel that the claustrophobic environs of a bio-bubble have taken a toll on their mental health. Players pulling out of tournaments owing to bubble fatigue has been a recurring theme ever since cricket resumed in the shadow of Covid-19.
Having borne the brunt himself, Parkison seems to have eventually discovered the light at the end of the tunnel. In the past two weeks, the Lancashire lad has bagged six wickets across those five international appearances and took the honours alongside Adil Rashid in a series-levelling T20I win over Pakistan at Headingley on Sunday.