Perfect timing is an essential commodity in cricket and the emergence of batsman Phillip Hughes could not have come at a better time for the Australians.
The 20-year-old has taken the cricketing world by storm since making his test debut in February and is suddenly lurking as one of Australia's trump cards in this year's Ashes series.
With Justin Langer then Matthew Hayden both retiring since the last Ashes series, Australia were desperate to find a new opener to partner Simon Katich and could not have imagined getting a better replacement than Hughes.
Like his predecessors, Hughes is a pugnacious left-hander brimming with self-confidence and possessing an enormous appetite for scoring runs.
That is to be expected from any Australian test batsman but what sets Hughes apart is his unorthodox batting style.
At first impression, he looks uncomfortable at the crease, stepping away from short-pitched deliveries and slashing the ball over backward point.
He employs little traditional footwork, relying instead on his eye, but his unconventional approach should not be mistaken for poor technique, an error opposition bowlers have often made.
No-one has been able to work him out yet. Hughes has scored a mountain of runs at every level he has played and has even earned comparisons with Don Bradman, the greatest batsman of all time.
"With Bradman, it's definitely been flattering to hear that," Hughes told reporters in Australia.
"The rise to the top level has been very fast, obviously, for me. I'm 20 years of age and it's all happened like a bang."
Like many Australian cricketers, Hughes was raised in rural New South Wales.
The Australian bush can be a harsh and often remote environment with limited opportunities for children, but is one that has produced a long line of tough, single-minded players, including Bradman, Doug Walters and Glenn McGrath.
Hughes grew up on a banana plantation in Macksville, a town of 3,000 residents in the state's subtropical north, halfway between Sydney and the Queensland capital Brisbane.
He honed his skills through hours of monotonous practice. During the day, he would relentlessly hit balls in his backyard. At night, he would perfect his unique strokeplay by playing shots in front of a full-length mirror.
By the age of 12, he had run out of junior players to challenge him so was forced to play against adults, who gave him his first real test of courage with a barrage of bouncers.
In 2006, when he was 17, he left Macksville for Sydney to start training at the cricketing school that produced Michael Clarke.
He made his first-class debut for New South Wales at 18 and finished the season by becoming the youngest player to score a century in the final of Australia's domestic Sheffield Shield competition.
It was not just his timing at the crease that was perfect.
A vacancy had suddenly opened up in the Australian team after Hayden retired in January and Hughes's performances in the Sheffield Shield final were enough to win him a place in the Test side for the tour of South Africa.
Riddled with nerves, he was dismissed for a fourth-ball duck after an ugly swipe in his first Test innings, but he quickly rebounded and showed he was made of sterner stuff.
He made an assured 75 in the second innings then scored hundreds in each innings of his second Test, becoming the youngest man to achieve the feat at Test level.
Hughes, a short man for an opener, has already made a big impression on the English after spending a month playing county cricket with Middlesex, who showed the foresight of signing him up before he was picked to play for Australia only to be later accused of helping the old enemy.
Middlesex were almost accused of treason after giving Australia's youngest and most inexperienced batsman the chance to acclimatize to English conditions before the Ashes, an opportunity he clearly relished.
In three first-class matches, he scored 574 runs, including three centuries on grounds that will be used during the Ashes, at an average of 143.50.
The last Australian player to come close to scoring as many runs from their first innings in England was Bradman, who made 556 in 1930.
"It is flattering (to be compared with) the world's best player and the best player anyone's ever seen. But in saying that, I'm not one to go out there and go: 'I want to break this record or that record'," Hughes said.
"I'm just a guy that wants to put the guys around me in the best position to win games of cricket and just keep improving my game really."