Michael Vaughan described his return to competitive cricket as a "real positive" - even though it ended for him with a seven-ball duck as the England Academy lost to Western Australia 2nd XI in Perth.
Vaughan, England captain until recurring knee problems and surgery interrupted his tenure late last year, was today playing his first match since a midsummer operation as he seeks to prove his return to fitness.
The Yorkshire batsman is hoping to be available to England again early next year - although some more optimistic reports have suggested he could yet feature in the ongoing Ashes series.
He began his latest comeback in the field and was then untroubled by his injury in his short stay at the crease - batting at number four in the rain-shortened one-day match which saw the Academy stumble to four for two on the way to an unsuccessful reply to 218 for eight.
"Obviously it’s slightly disappointing I didn’t get any runs - but to be honest, today was all about getting back to playing cricket," Vaughan said, after the Academy’s 40-run loss.
"It’s a huge positive to me that I’m back on the field playing cricket. It is the early stages of a comeback - but six months ago I never thought I’d get back to the stage of playing cricket again. It was a really tough time, and thankfully I’ve got to this stage."
Vaughan reported he felt his knee "a little bit" during the game but he remains optimistic his fitness can only improve in the coming weeks.
The 32-year-old’s next challenge is a re-match against the same opponents next Wednesday.
"Over the next few days we’ll be having plenty of practice, plenty of middle practice - and I hope to play a full part in next Wednesday’s game. I’ll be fielding for 50 overs and getting a few more runs, we hope," he said. "I hope in the next few weeks I can get my game in a decent amount of order and also spend a little bit more time in the middle.
"You can net as much as you want; you can ‘middle-practise’ as much as you want, but playing a game is what I need at the minute."
As for a comeback to the Test arena, Vaughan is still uncertain about when he may return.
"I honestly don’t know. This is just the first day of what has been a long rehab program," he said. "The goal for me to play cricket was January, so for me to play today and to actually get the whites on was a lot sooner than we all expected. That’s a good sign.
"It is frustrating you are missing games of cricket, but on a positive note I’m back playing. A few months ago I didn’t think I would get to this stage, so I’m quite happy."
Vaughan does not doubt he can get back to his best but is more concerned with the physical aspect of things.
"The actual form side is not a huge worry, because that always comes back eventually ... it’s just the movement of the knee and the cricket movements - which today I got through quite well," he said.
"The real test will be when I have to spend the whole day in the field or bat for four or five hours."