Lancashire fast powler Sajid Mahmood claims being dropped by England was a blessing in disguise.
Mahmood has been overlookeed by the selectors since the final Ashes Test in Australia last January and the World Cup almost a year ago.
But he admits his spell away from international cricket has allowed him to improve his bowling.
"Playing international cricket, there are always eyes on you saying he's not doing this, he's not doing that," Mahmood told the England and Wales Cricket Board's official website.
"To get out of that environment last year and play county cricket for a little bit, you can just go about doing your own thing, concentrate on the things you need to do.
"You tend to get forgotten a little bit but I don't think it's a bad thing sometimes.
"You've got more time to work on different aspects of your game, and I think that helped me a lot.
"It's the first winter I've had here in five years, and to look back and reflect on things - think about what I need to do to get back into that side - has been pretty healthy for me.
"I don't want to look too far ahead but my main aim is to get back in there as quick as I can.
"I'm pretty confident in my ability and I know I'll get back into that England side."
Mahmood, who has played in just seven of 24 Tests since he made his debut in 2006, benefited from a sustained spell with Lancashire last summer.
He took 30 first-class wickets from 10 games despite having his season interrupted by a double hernia operation.
The 26-year-old showed signs his accuracy was improving last year, an area of his game he continued to work on over the last six months.
"It always helps to have something different, but pace alone is not going to get me into the side," Mahmood added.
"Obviously, there are a few things you need to get back into that England side so that's why I've been working on different aspects of my game, mainly consistency in my bowling. I've had six months out, to work on my consistency every day."
Mahmood also claims he is in much better shape mentally now, having admitted he was not ready to take the step up to the highest level when he went for 56 off seven overs on his ODI debut against New Zealand at the age of 22 and with just a handful of first-class games under his belt.
"I'm pretty confident and relaxed in the direction I need to be going, and where I want to get to," said Mahmood.
"Sometimes you can get in there and think it's easy, and it's not, so you're not prepared for it.
"My career has been a bit up and down but I'm 26 now, I know my game a lot better and I'm a lot more mentally prepared for what I need to do at international level.
"I know what my job is and I don't think I've felt this good in my career."
Lancashire begin their LV County Championship challenge against Surrey at the Brit Oval on Wednesday.