Kevin Pietersen appears in peak fitness ahead of the eagerly-anticipated Ashes series, which begins on Wednesday, but there was a time when his return to face Australia was far from a guarantee.
The 32-year-old saw his tour of New Zealand curtailed by injury in March, with severe bone bruising to his right knee causing concern that an Ashes series without England's most gifted batsman was a real possibility.
Following the initial diagnosis, Pietersen said he was 'keeping his fingers crossed' he would be available for selection come July, although deep down the former England captain harboured fears he would be an Ashes absentee.
The full extent of the problems Pietersen faced have only come to light in recent weeks, with the Surrey star revealing the injury he sustained was worse than suffering a broken leg, while excessive painkillers forced his stomach to 'give up'.
There is, then, even more reason to be thankful that Pietersen's body has granted him an opportunity for a tilt at three consecutive Ashes victories, and a fourth win over the course of his illustrious career.
The last time Australia arrived on these shores to contest an Ashes series, Pietersen and England were reeling having surrendered the urn they fought so hard to win in 2005 with a display of ineptitude in the series succeeding it down under.
Four years on, however, it is England that hold the significant psychological advantage having triumphed 3-1 in Australia two years ago - the first time they had done so since the series of 1986-87.
Pietersen played a prominent role in that iconic victory - scoring 360 runs at an average of 60 - and says grinding Australia into the dust on the southern hemisphere was the most satisfying moment of his England career.
"The Ashes series we won out in Australia was just an incredible experience," Pietersen told GiveMeSport in an exclusive interview.
"To win an Ashes series is a fantastic achievement, but to do it in their backyard is even more special."
England's first of three Test wins in that series came in Adelaide, as they pummelled their shell-shocked opposition with a performance of skill, flair and ruthlessness more akin to their previously dominant rivals.
Pietersen epitomised England's new-found killer instinct as he bludgeoned a Test-best 227 at the Adelaide Oval, after James Anderson had ripped through Australia's top order on the opening morning.
It was arguably England's most complete display on their ascension to world No.1 status as they won by an innings and 71 runs, and Pietersen regards the encounter in Adelaide as the best he has been part of in international cricket.
"[My favourite England game] would have to be the Adelaide Ashes test back in December 2010," he said.
"It was a fantastic performance by the boys and we went on to win by an innings and 71 runs! Cooky scored a brilliant 148 and I hit one of my favourite ever innings, 227. I even took a wicket!"
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