About the time Cameron Green was getting into the 190s for Western Australia in Adelaide, a fourth century in his most recent nine Sheffield Sheld matches, a mea culpa message buzzed through to the phone of the former selector Greg Chappell. It was from Australia's coach, Justin Langer, who was finally ready to concede his first impressions of Green had been overtaken.
In fairness to Langer, that first impression had taken the shape of a zingy, swinging spell of pace bowling from Green at Bellerive in early 2017, when he snapped up 5 for 24 on his Shield debut for the state while batting at No. 8. Chappell, though, had remained steadfast in his belief that Green would ultimately be more valuable to Australian cricket as a batsman than a bowler, with the risk of losing that opportunity through the injuries so often suffered by young speedsters.
So Langer, a few days before selecting Green in Australia's limited-overs squad to face India without seeing him even bowl a single competitive ball this season, reached out magnanimously to Chappell. "I texted Greg Chappell a couple days ago," Langer said, "and I said 'GC, wasn't it me that was telling you what a great batsman Cameron Green was' and I had a whole lot of smiley emojis, because Greg Chappell's been telling me for two years 'Cameron Green is brilliant, he is the best young batting talent'.
"[Back then] I said 'mate he's six foot seven, I saw him bowl to George Bailey in his first over and he'll never bowl a better over in his whole career than he did'. When I first saw him bowl I thought his action was like a young Shaun Pollock, because it was just so simple, but then he grew a lot.
"I know he's working hard on his action to ensure he stays healthy, but if Greg Chappell's telling me he's the best young talent he's seen for a long time, and I've seen how he bowls, he's potentially in the future a great all-round package. At the moment his batting speaks for itself and he's bowling a few overs. But it'll be a pretty good package won't it, if he stays fit and healthy."
Leaving aside a low score on a grassy pitch in the Shield game against Tasmania that began on Friday, Green has won plaudits from opposing captains, bowlers and team-mates for offering a maturity of approach that does not always seem the way of a 21-year-old. No less a judge than the Test captain Tim Paine has spoken warmly of Green's awareness of what bowlers and captains are trying to do, and of the unruffled countenance that has allowed him to put together many hours at the crease.
"He bats long periods," Langer said. "I know George Bailey's really big on this as one of our new selectors, he bats time. Allan Border used to say 'there's a lot more time than you think young fella', so there's a lot of time in Test cricket, there's a bit more time in one-day cricket. Obviously there's less time in T20 and he was batting down the order for the Scorchers last year, which is a tough spot for anyone let alone a kid, but he's ticking a lot of boxes at the moment.
"I go back to the point, competition's healthy, he is banging really hard on the door, like Moises [Henriques] has been doing, and he deserves an opportunity as a specific replacement for Mitch [Marsh]. So they're banging on the door hard, which is a positive thing.
"When I used to go play county cricket all those years ago, all the English guys used to say 'in Australia you've got this great youth policy, you always pick these young players' and they talk about Damien Martyn or Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke. But what I kept saying was 'it's not a youth policy, you just pick the guys who are playing the best cricket'. Cameron Green's got, albeit in Sheffield Shield cricket, four hundreds in his last six or seven Shield games, so he's a terrific young player."
Expectations of course are now sky high, not least after Chappell himself labelled Green the best young talent he had seen come through since Ricky Ponting. But Langer is hopeful that the same temperament Green has displayed in the middle will be applied to dead-bat the dangers of thinking too far ahead, or letting the ego chase deliveries that the mind and hands would prefer to leave well alone.
"It tends to happen doesn't it, the new kid on the block comes in and there's high praise and people get carried away," Langer said. "How does he handle it? He watches the ball as closely as he is now, he stays fit and healthy and he gets on with his job.
"That's the hardest part actually of playing international cricket, eliminating the distractions, but that's what mental toughness is about, he's not going to have it all at the moment, it's going to be a journey for a long time for him as it is with any young player. But this is all part of it, people will say 'he's the next future captain, he's the next Ben Stokes, he's the next this and this', that's why I tell all of them not to listen to any of it. If he wants to keep watching the ball, that's all he needs to do."