James Tomlinson put aside his frustrations at his lack of first-team opportunities to breathe further life into Hampshire’s bowling attack as they stepped up their relegation escape bid at Somerset.
The Rose Bowl outfit ended a productive first day’s play at Taunton just 80 runs behind with nine wickets intact after bowling out the home side for 204.
The left-armer grabbed three wickets for 40 runs in only his fourth Championship outing of the campaign, despite being last season’s leading wicket-taker and taking 143 wickets in the previous three seasons.
A foot injury ruled him out of the first three matches this season.
But he’s been fully fit ever since and admits that he is now keen to prove it was a mistake to leave him out for so long.
Tomlinson said: ‘It’s been very frustrating.
‘It’s not easy at all when you are trying to get into the side.
‘I only missed the first three games through injury and then to only get one game at Worcester and then have to wait until August is very difficult, to be honest.
‘But you’ve got to stick in there and try your hardest.
‘Now I have got my chance, it is coming out really well so I am feeling I’m showing what I can do and that I think I should play.
The 29-year-old shrugged off suggestions that he could be the man to save Hampshire from relegation with a late impact on the season, but revealed his disappointment that his season has taken so long to fire.
He said: ‘I’m obviously bitterly disappointed because I’ve done really well over the past four years, but it’s one of those things.
‘It’s professional cricket so there are winners and losers.
‘Some people are going to have great seasons and some people are going to have disappointing seasons and mine was turning into a really disappointing season.
‘But hopefully I’ve got a chance of playing in the next two games after this one so that will be four or five games in a row.’
While Hampshire have made a promising start to this game, Tomlinson knows there is plenty of work still to be done to secure a much-needed win.
He said: ‘I think we’re in a very good position but it will be a very important first session on day two.
‘The game can change in an instant and we’re still 80 runs behind.
‘We’ve got to bat well and then see where we are at tea.’
He added: ‘We let them off the leash a little bit to let them get above 200.
‘But I think we know that they are still below par and I think we can get a good score.’