Western Australian paceman Ryan Duffield has admitted he thought his first-class cricket career may have been over before making a spectacular return for the Warriors in their Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania at the WACA.
Having claimed 33 Shield wickets in the 2010-2011 campaign, injury problems left him left him out in the cold last season and the left-armer was therefore thrilled to mark his first state appearance in almost two years by taking 3–61 as the hosts dismissed the Tigers for a below-par total of 211.
"It was good to get through the first few overs and get a bit of rhythm up because it's been quite a while and there were a few nerves there,” he said.
"From there on I got more and more comfortable, I was pretty happy with the way it came out and it flowed on nicely.
"I did think that possibly my days of playing for WA were over.
"Last year was a pretty disappointing one for me personally.
"I didn't do myself any favours and it's been well publicised that over the last 18 months I haven't been in the shape that I should have been, so this year I really steeled myself to fight my way back and it's taken me most of the season to do that.
"But (coach) Justin Langer and (strength and conditioning coach) Steve Smith have had faith in me and hopefully I can repay that in the long term."
Duffield certainly looked to be in good nick as he accounted for Tasmanian openers Mark Cosgrove and Ben Dunk as well as skipper George Bailey, but he acknowledged that his side face a real battle to force their way back into the game having slumped to 6-54 at stumps.
"They are still going to bowl good balls and the wicket is probably going to help them out, but we've just got to hang in there for as long as we can and hopefully get to within 60 or 70 runs of their total and set up a chance to knock them over again.
"Hopefully our tail can wag.
"We probably let them off the hook a little bit towards the back end of their innings and we need to learn from that and go out in the second innings and restrict them again.
"Then we've got to back ourselves to chase down whatever they set us on the last day and a half."
Duffield will resume on four not out when day two gets underway, alongside wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman (six) and the Warriors' first task will be to improve upon the paltry first-innings total of 67 they recorded during November's clash with the Tigers in Hobart.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 22 February, 2013 9:18AM AEST