Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile has revealed it was a nasty concussion that kept him sidelined through the latter stages of the regular Indian Premier League season.
Coulter-Nile produced a player-of-the-match performance with the ball upon his return for the Kolkata Knight Riders in their elimination-final win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday night.
It was his first appearance for the franchise since their May 3 loss to Rising Pune Supergiant, when Coulter-Nile was welcomed to the crease with a nasty blow on the grille from a Dan Christian short ball.
Quick single: Coulter-Nile, KKR eliminate Sunrisers
The Western Australian continued his innings after the knock, sending the next ball he faced over the rope for six, but was later diagnosed with concussion.
The effects of the concussion kept Coulter-Nile out of Kolkata's next three matches – with Knight Riders assistant coach Simon Katich telling Indian media on May 6 that the 29-year-old was "off-colour" and would not be rushed back – before the paceman returned as a last-minute inclusion for the must-win game against the Sunrisers.
"It was a tough one, I'd never had concussion before so I didn't know what to expect or what was going on," Coulter-Nile said following Kolkata's seven-wicket win, which has set up a qualifying final against Mumbai Indians on Friday.
"I was just really tired, headaches, I got a bit sick but there wasn't rehab or anything like that, I just had to lay in bed and wait to get right.
"I wasn't playing this morning, but I woke up and felt pretty good so I put my hand up for selection and the coaching staff went with me."
It was a timely return from Coulter-Nile, who came back with a bang, taking 3-20.
He picked up the key wicket of New Zealand star Kane Williamson, who was caught at extra cover for 24, before removing Vijay Shankar on 22.
He then took a brilliant diving catch in his follow-through to dismiss Chris Jordan (0), who was playing his first game in the IPL, in the 19th over.
"I was a little bit lucky there, I wasn't going to bowl the 19th over," he said.
"They were going quite hard at the end there.
"It wasn't a wicket where you could hit freely, so I picked up a couple of lucky ones.
"The boys bowled fantastically and we were in a good position, so I reaped the rewards.
"I think I made that (Jordan catch) look a lot harder than it was … but I held on."
It was a welcome piece of luck for Coulter-Nile, with concussion the latest interruption in what's been an injury-plagued few years for the fast bowler.
His first match of the IPL season for Kolkata – in which he took 3-22 against the Daredevils in Delhi – was his first competitive game in almost a year, since playing for Australia in last June's Caribbean tri-series.
He travelled to Sri Lanka with the Australian Test squad following that series, but having been confined to the training track during the Tests, he was sent home during the ODI component of the tour and diagnosed with a bone stress fracture.
"Getting back was tough, it was a long time out of the game," Coulter-Nile said following that comeback clash against Delhi.
"It probably was one of the hardest years of my life."