Queensland batsman Peter Forrest has spoken of his frustrations during a long form slump, saying he felt his team-mates had to carry him before he posted a classy century against Victoria at the MCG on Monday.
The Bulls were in all sorts of strife early in the match after winning the toss and electing to bat, promptly slumping to 4-41 as the Bushrangers ran through their top order.
But in tandem with Nathan Reardon (17) and James Hopes (88), Forrest led the fightback, posting a classy 119 as he helped his side finish with 322 before being dismissed in the day's last over.
Having been one of Australia's more promising batsmen, with two half-centuries and a ton in three of his first four one-day internationals, Forrest dropped down the national pecking order big time this summer.
The 27-year-old found himself struggling for Shield runs, averaging just 15.33 heading into this match but put all that behind him as he brought up his ton in 203 deliveries on Monday.
"It's a relief - it's been a pretty tough year personally," said Forrest.
"It's reasonably rewarding personally, only because we were obviously in a fair bit of strife this morning.
"We're probably a little bit short of where we wanted, but at least we're in the game."
Forrest's form slump saw him effectively out of contention for the recent two ODI series against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, despite selectors ringing the changes as they rotated some players and tried managing others ahead of the Test series in India.
"You wouldn't be human if it wasn't on your mind," said Forrest when asked how frustrating it had been watching others jump ahead of him in the queue.
"But first and foremost ... when I got back from the West Indies and UK, I knew my role being the spare batsman at that stage meant I had to be scoring runs in whatever competition I played.
"I know you can be on a high and obviously last year, everything I touched turned to gold.
"This year, I found it a little bit harder.
"This week particularly and for the last month I've been working really hard, so it's nice to get those rewards today.
"(But) you can't be a top-order bat averaging 15 for the year," he added.
"It wasn't fair on the rest of the blokes to be carrying me."
Forrest said Hopes' relaxed nature had helped him through his innings, even if he did feel for his skipper after he fell for 88, just short of his first Shield century in six years.
"He's not very serious when he's out there batting," said Forrest.
"He played one shot and then came up and said, 'that was a pretty good shot from the captain - it could have been caught at mid-wicket, slip and straight up in the air, so I might take just that one out of the game'.
"He's hard to describe, he's very different ... it's good fun.
"(But) he was more disappointed that when he got out, it was just before the new ball.
"We set ourselves to make sure we were there when they took the new ball and hopefully get through that, shield our bowlers from that.
"Unfortunately that didn't happen."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 18 February, 2013 8:39PM AEST