Five years, four stress fractures, one bout of surgery and countless injections separate Reece Topley, the England rookie who took part in his side’s wide-eyed journey towards the final of the last World T20 in India in 2016, from the seasoned, 27-year-old pro whose career could yet come full circle as England’s latest T20I campaign prepares to get underway in Ahmedabad.

The fact that Topley is still playing cricket at any level is remarkable in itself. By his own admission, he was “totally done with it” at one stage of his interminable injury agonies – not least on one grim afternoon in the summer of 2018, when a call to say he had been picked for the India ODIs was trumped by another confirming that, yes, he would be undergoing a back operation.

But the fact that Topley has fought back from the brink, to muscle himself a berth in England’s full-strength T20I squad, is a testament to the enduring attributes of a 6ft 7in left-arm seamer – a rare breed of bowler who can generate good pace and sharp swing from his awkward high action, and whose skills at the death have not been diminished in the interim.

It remains to be seen whether those attributes can earn him an instant recall (“if I get an opportunity it’s about performing that role to Morgy’s standards,” he said) but, having flirted with all manner of alternative career paths – including human-rights lawyer and financial markets analyst – during his years on the sidelines, he’s gagging to get back to the career he thought he’d fallen out of love with.

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