England batsman Ravi Bopara is hoping to make up for lost time by pushing for Test honours during the upcoming NatWest Series against West Indies.
The Essex right-hander was at the head of the queue to fill England's number six position against the Windies in this summer's Investec Test series, only to suffer a calf injury on the eve of the squad announcement for the first match last month.
That place was filled at Lord's, and in two subsequent Tests, by Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow - and Bopara's calf trouble was the latest in a series of minor but untimely niggles over the past eight months.
The middle-order batsman is expected to be back at number four in the first of three 50-over matches against the Windies, at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday.
"I'm really looking forward to it," he said.
"I haven't played a lot of cricket for England recently because of injuries. So it's exciting for me, and I'm in good form."
Bopara returned to action at the start of June with a 50-over century, and then one in four-day cricket too, for Essex.
He is not about to start worrying unduly either about a run of injuries, which may be pure coincidence.
"It's very frustrating. It's only recently I've started to get a few injuries," he said.
"Before that, I very rarely missed games through injury ... it's probably a sign of me getting old.
"It is annoying. It is frustrating. But whatever's meant to be is meant to be."
Bairstow has endured a tough start to his Test career posting scores of just 16, 4 and 18 in his three completed innings to-date.
And Bopara, while aware others are profiting from his absence, knows that at 27, time is not on his side as much as it once was.
"I guess what it does is it gives someone else an opportunity to cement their place, and that's not ideal.
"But it means when I get my opportunity, I've got to cement my place. Let's hope I get it soon."