Leicestershire fly-half Rishi Patel said his excellent start to the season had finally convinced him he was good enough to play at first-class level.
The 24-year-old has scored 517 points in five league games, including his first three centuries.
Talks with former England hitter James Taylor and spending part of the winter in India helped boost his confidence.
“At the end of last season I didn’t want to see another cricket bat for six weeks,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.
Patel averaged just 24.86 in eight league appearances last summer, with a top score of 99, and thus the rush of runs that helped Leicestershire avoid defeat until now this season has taken him slightly by surprise.
“It was an unexpected start, but a good start. I haven’t scored regular points in the last two years, so it’s [been about] finding that balance between learning to play at that level and making sure you’re good enough at that level,” he said.
“After you got your first one and then you saved it and then another last week, all of a sudden now I feel like I’m good enough to be at this level, the things I did over the winter have worked and I can trust that process.”
Patel went to India with the main aim of improving his technique against spins.
But spending time in the heat crease also had the significant benefit of improving his endurance.
“I only had to beat two sessions a week and they were about two hours long, so long sessions in the afternoon where I stopped every half hour, 40 minutes to drink water,” said explained the right-hander. .
“It helped me learn to hit as long as possible in this heat, which makes it a lot easier when I’m out there. [in England]mentally I feel much fresher, not as tired when I hit.
“The subcontinent has a lot of good players and a lot of cricket in general. It really is a culture shock for a lot of club players when you go out, but it’s fantastic when you go out.
“I’ve been there once, also in Mumbai, so I knew what it was like. That’s one of the reasons I went there, because it’s not Australia, it is not South Africa.
“At that time, it was a nice, different break to where everyone else goes and I could just focus on myself.”
Patel started the season with 125 in the second leg against Yorkshire and followed that up with a career-high 134 not against Glamorgan and exactly 100 in last week’s draw with Sussex.
Only India Test star Cheteshwar Pujara, who captains Sussex, has scored more points – 545 – in Division Two so far this season, and no one else has reached 400.
Patel admitted adjusting to life in the East Midlands from his native Essex in 2020 hadn’t been ‘the smoothest of rides’, but some harsh words from head coach Paul Nixon last September also played a role in its development.
“From what I did this winter to what I did for the last two years, I wasn’t even really a professional cricketer.
“We had an assessment at the end of last season and I thought he was a bit harsh, but I think he was right when he said I wasn’t working hard enough, I wasn’t hitting enough balls. .
“I came back and thought ‘I’m going to prove you wrong’.”