Tom Helm believes his body has coped well with the rigours of Middlesex’s hectic recent schedule.
The seamer’s career has suffered a series of false starts because of injuries, the last of them a back problem which ruled him out of the latter part of the 2018 campaign.
Those injuries mean, despite turning 25 earlier this month, Helm’s first-class wicket haul stands at just 58.
However, after playing every match of a Royal London Cup campaign compressed into 22 days – taking 19 wickets in the process – and coming through last week’s red-ball draw with Leicestershire, he’s hopeful of pushing on.
“The body is good,” he said. “I played in all the white-ball games we had, which was pretty full-on as they came thick and fast.
“Then we came straight into the Leicester game and I’ve come through it fine, so I’m in a good place and confident in my body.
“The mental side of getting back to bowling again has been okay to be honest.
“It was only a stress response this time which was good news as, in the past, I’ve had fractures where the bone is actually broken and it has been six months out.
“I’d missed the last two or three months of the summer and then didn’t have to bowl until around Christmas time, so I pretty much had six months off for something which only needed three.
“That gave me a bit of confidence in my body knowing it’d had more than enough time to heal.”
Despite his injury struggles, the Buckinghamshire-born quick has long been held in high regard, not only by Middlesex’s director of cricket Angus Fraser, who gave him his first professional contract in 2012, but England too.
He was on a Lions tour to Sri Lanka back in 2016-17 and remains on the radar of England scout Geoff Arnold.
Yet, Helm’s had to fight for his place in a Middlesex seam attack boasting the likes of Tim Murtagh, Steven Finn, James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones.
Faced with such odds others have decided to seek their cricket fortunes elsewhere, but having sat tight, Helm, thanks in no small part to his mentor and now first-team bowling coach Alan Coleman, has a greater sense of belonging than ever before.
“I do feel way more established in the squad than I ever have done,” he said.
“It was not necessarily my decision not to go away to another county - that was taken out of my hands. Not that I probably would have done anyway because I think staying here was the right thing to do.
“Middlesex have treated me well and Coley (Alan Coleman) and I have worked together since I was a kid.
“I got on really well with Richard Johnson too and fortunately I have been one of those people where anyone I’ve worked with has said the same sort of things about my action.
“There’s not been someone saying do this and someone else telling me to do that.”
With Middlesex without a game this week, Helm has seized the chance for a few days R&R in Amsterdam with team-mates Nick Gubbins and Stevie Eskinazi ahead of their trip to Worcestershire in the match beginning on Bank Holiday Monday.
“It will be nice to get our heads away from the game to be honest as it has been so full-on for the last few weeks,” he added.
“But I expect there will be some competitive elements going on out there - we might find a golf course or something like that.”