The last 18 months haven't been great for South Africa veteran Hashim Amla but the 36-year-old is claiming that he is hungrier than ever before to step out on the field and make his presence felt in the 2019 World Cup.
Amla, who has amassed over 18,000 international runs, has struggled heavily in all formats of the game and it was only because of his experience the southpaw was selected in the South African squad for the marquee event.
"Things happen that you don't anticipate and I did not anticipate how things have gone recently. But I am a firm believer that when something happens, there is some good in it," ICC quoted Amla, as saying.
"I have had time away and now I am really looking back to wearing the green and gold again.
"I am hungrier than ever before, there is no doubt about that. I have been blessed to have this shirt for a while but the time off has made me want to come back stronger."
Having featured in the 2011 and 2015 editions, this will be Amla's third and last World Cup. The right-hander was dropped from the South African squad for the home ODI series against Sri Lanka and didn't even find a buyer in the IPL 2019 auction.
South Africa will feature in the tournament opener where they will take on the favourites England. After many years, South Africa are going into a World Cup as underdogs, something Amla believes can work in their favour.
"It is the best first game we could have asked for. We have played England recently and had some success against them, I have done well against them too. This year, you don't see the same big names and that is why the focus is not on us but that has some good in it," he said.
"There has not been much chat about us winning in comparison to the past but I don't think that played a part in how we performed. At the end of the day, we always gave our best and played to win.
"The fact that there has not been a lot of chat at this World Cup means there is less expectation but in the team we think we can do well."