Ashley Giles may have played only a walk-on part in Warwickshire's Championship success last year but he was centre stage as the team took a firm grip on their match against Glamorgan.
The England left-arm orthodox spinner played once for Warwickshire last season, later saying he didn't fully feel a part of end-of-year trophy celebrations. Modelling the club's new Twenty20 wristbands this week, he joked: "The gatemen don't recognise me any more."
Here a streamlined Giles reminded us of his immense value with a performance of great skill, finding enough turn to trouble a strong batting line-up and finishing with six for 44 in Glamorgan's meagre 198.
"I was quite nervous," he said. "I've had a good year and I felt there was quite a lot of expectation upon me. Obviously the pitch has been prepared to help spin bowling but that just adds to the expectation. Sometimes people just expect you to turn up and take wickets.
" That Championship win [last year] was for the guys here at Warwickshire. I played only once and it was all about John Inverarity and Nick Knight and the guys here; not me. Hopefully, and I mean this in the best possible way, I won't be available that much for Warwickshire this season either, as that means I'll be playing for England."
Glamorgan's opener, Australian Matthew Elliott, had looked untroubled in compiling 84 until Giles turned one back into the left-hander, beating his forward push and precipitating his spell of five for 17 in 50 deliveries. "I was pleased with that wicket," he said. "It was a bit like the dismissal of Brian Lara (at Lord's last year), where it pitched outside off and turned a fair bit to beat him 'through the gate'. The Glamorgan top order, like the Australians', is full of left-handers, and bowling to batsmen of the quality of Elliott is excellent practice for the Ashes.
"After lunch the Glamorgan players were looking to be more positive against me. They may well have planned to hit me out of the attack, which is another tactic the Australians are likely to try. But I hit a good line and length from the off and bowled well. It's the first time I've bowled in a match since mid-February, so it's been a nice way to return."
Giles also celebrated his 300th first-class Warwickshire wicket (Michael Powell) but added: "The seamers did a good job. I was very impressed with Nick Warren. He did very well, which is great news for us."