Hampshire: Ryan Stevenson grateful for county's support during injury exile
Ryan Stevenson feared his first-class cricket career was over after three stress fractures in his back.
The 26-year-old right-arm seamer almost gave up the game before an operation last September gave him another chance.
Figures of 2-39 in the T20 Blast against Kent last Friday marked a long-awaited return to first-team action.
"There's been some pretty low points in the past two years, but it's been a case of believing another chance would come along," he told BBC Radio Solent.
Stevenson, from Torquay, found himself out of contract at Hampshire in the winter, but with the club's help made ends meet by coaching youngsters.
Having stepped up his rehabilitation from his last operation with regular second XI matches, his chance to end a two-year spell out of first-team action finally came along.
"It's been a long road," Stevenson said. "But, getting there now and managing the back a lot better, knowing what's good and bad pain as a reaction, makes a big difference.
"Getting a game's great, but just being around the squad in recent months, watching how players like Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla train and play, has also been invaluable."
Hampshire have rewarded Stevenson's determination by handing him a new deal until the end of this season, a move he hopes will lead to more positives.
"After the third stress fracture, there was a time I sat down with my fiancee and said, 'do we keep going with this or just move on?', Stevenson revealed.
"With her support, we gave it every chance and here we are."