Alex Loudon's inclusion in England's winter tour party to Pakistan was greeted with universal surprise - not least by the man himself.
As usual a host of names were mentioned, but the suspicion was that England's selectors would take a conservative approach in the spin department, with the tried and trusted Gareth Batty expected to travel as back-up to Ashley Giles.
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So when the tour parties were announced seven days after the final victorious Ashes Test, the name of the young Warwickshire allrounder alongside that of Hampshire journeyman Shaun Udal, raised a few eyebrows.
Although Loudon had been expected to make the A' tour to the West Indies in February, the 25-year-old had clearly made an impression with the selectors during his first season with Warwickshire.
"The day the squad was announced was all pretty extraordinary," Loudon said. "I was extremely surprised. I am immensely lucky to have been given this opportunity, and I am looking to contribute and help as much as I can both on and off the field.
"I have an idea of what's expected but there are a lot of unexpected things that crop up on overseas tours, so I am sure there will have to be a bit of adapting to situations."
A Championship batting average of just over 32, including five 50s, and 34 wickets at 33.9, mark Loudon out as a cricketer of real promise, although far from the finished article.
But Duncan Fletcher has proved time and again he would rather mould the raw materials - which Loudon has in abundance - rather than be handed the finished product.
With fewer than 40 firstclass games under his belt, Loudon is still very much a novice by county standards, but his goals are mature and his self-critical nature will go down well with the England management.
"I set some numerical goals last season, and they were to score at least 1,000 runs, and take over 35 wickets," Loudon explains. "I fell short so that was a bit disappointing."
The former Kent allrounder celebrated his inclusion in the squad by taking six for 66 against Gloucestershire as Warwickshire finished the championship season in style.
Loudon realised early on that simply treading water in county cricket would not satisfy him, and he has taken steps to add to his armoury by learning the art of bowling a 'doosra' - effectively the off-spinner's wrong-un.
While this 'mystery delivery' has been much talked about since his selection, Loudon is keen to point out the delivery still requires plenty of fine-tuning before he can be completely happy.
Fletcher will be hoping the former England Under-19 captain's so-far impressive learning curve can continue under the tutelage of England bowling coach Troy Cooley - the man credited with teaching Simon Jones how to bowl reverse swing.
"It [the doosra] is something I have been working on but it's far from perfected," he said.
"It's a little variation. Just something that can keep a batsman on his toes every so often.
"I am going to look to work on that and a couple of other balls as well, it's a never ending quest."
How much time Loudon spends out on the field in the coming weeks remains to be seen. England play just two three-day warm-up games before the Test series begins in Multan on November 12.
Loudon takes a typically level-headed view about his chances of getting out on the field.
"Wherever you tour you have got to try to adapt to new conditions and improve as a player, and develop as much as you can and work as hard as you can - and that's what I will be looking to do.
"A player improves most in a game situation, so I am going to be doing my best to get on to the field."