Chris Woakes insists there is no place he would rather be than the England dressing room, despite continuing speculation over the absent Kevin Pietersen.
The second match of the NatWest Series against South Africa takes place at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday but the focus is unlikely to veer too far from Pietersen until his international future is resolved after an unseemly series of events including "provocative" text messages to opposition players.
Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes, 23, who is not part of the Test side but has been impressed by morale since linking up with the one-day group, said: "It's hard for me to comment about what happened in the Test series, because I've never been in a Test squad. But this is a fantastic dressing room to come into."
He added: "It's a good place to be and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but an England dressing room. Everyone is welcoming when fresh faces come in for a one-day series. It doesn't seem to change really. Everyone welcomes each other in and there's banter flying round."
Woakes is one of a handful of one-day specialists charged with avenging the 2-0 Test series defeat that saw South Africa usurp the hosts as the top ranked side in the world.
The ICC computer currently rates England as the best 50-over side too but, for the second time this summer, the Proteas can overtake them with a series win.
"It's a totally different format and it's important that we bounce back," said Woakes. "We're number one in the ODI rankings and we're trying to stay there or even expand that gap at the top. We just can't wait to get this game under way after the washout in Cardiff."
Woakes may not have had the chance to build on an eye-catching county season had Stuart Broad not been rested for the series, but having been named in the starting XI on Friday he is eager to grasp his opportunity.
"I feel like my cricket has gone from strength to strength as my career has progressed," added the 23-year-old. "I think I've developed my batting a lot in the last 18 months. I felt like I've had the potential to be an all-rounder but never scored the runs to warrant it.
"I feel I have the runs under my belt now to be classed as an all-rounder and that is where I want to be. If I can improve my bowling the way I want to and become an international bowler, that will be my way in."