Australia star batsman Steve Smith believes he has found the rhythm and technique that had gone missing from his game, just in time for the home series against India. (More Cricket News)
The former captain felt the disruption of the COVID-19 lockdown in his batting, with his once-assured mastery of the crease replaced by a sense something was not quite right.
It is only in the past week, he said on Tuesday, that Smith has begun to feel like his old self.
After struggling for form in the recent Indian Premier League, where he captained Rajasthan Royals, Smith is out to remind India what he is really about.
The 31-year-old said: "The past few days I have found something... I have found my hands which I am extremely excited about.
"I had a big smile on my face after training the other day, I walked past [Australia assistant coach] Andrew McDonald and said, 'I've found them again'."
The rejuvenated Smith has even been sharpening up his batting skills in his hotel bedroom, which has not been overwhelmingly popular with team-mates.
He said: "I've done a bit of shadow batting in the hotel and copped a few messages last night saying, 'stop tapping the bat down'."
An in-form Smith would be a formidable opponent for any touring side, and a hugely valuable asset for Australia, whose three-match ODI series against India starts in Sydney on Friday.
That will be followed by three Twenty20 clashes and four Test matches.
Smith explained his technical tweaks, saying: "Theoretically it is a simple thing, but it is just getting that feel and the look of the bat behind my toe the right way and the way my hands come up on the bat.
"It's hard to explain but it just hasn't quite been right until probably two days ago and I found a little something and everything just clicked in.
"It's taken me a lot longer than usual, I don't know why… I pretty much didn't bat for four months at the start of COVID."
Smith said he was "pretty disappointed" with his form for Rajasthan, for whom he scored just 311 runs in 14 innings at an average of 25.91, with only three half-centuries.
"There are those players around the world that can hit sixes at will, and I'm probably not one of those," he said.
"For me it's about playing proper cricket shots and hitting the gaps and manipulating the field as much as I can, and I probably went away from that a bit in the IPL."
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