Darren Gough and Stuart Broad are vying for an England World Cup place, from opposite ends of cricket's age spectrum.
But the veteran will do all he can to help the novice as well as himself prove their worth in the five-match Nat-West one-day series against Pakistan, beginning in Cardiff this afternoon.
Gough, 15 years Broad's senior and England's all-time leading limited-overs wicket-taker, is gratified to have worked his way back into the squad, having appeared out in the cold after opting out of last winter's tour to Pakistan for personal reasons.
The Yorkshireman knew he was courting controversy in some quarters when he subsequently agreed to appear on BBC variety show Strictly Come Dancing.
It was in keeping with Gough's famed competitive nature that he became the star of the series but, back in the England fold, he has cricketing points to prove again.
"A lot of people said I'd never play again, but I never give in," the Essex bowler said.
He and Broad know - with injuries afflicting many of England's seamers, most recently Steve Harmison who was last night withdrawn from the one-day series because of a sore back - that both are in the World Cup frame. Another pace bowler may yet have the opportunity to enter England's long-term plans following the selectors' announcement yesterday afternoon that they will name a replacement on stand-by for Harmison after today's match.
Gough has resolved to keep his 6ft 6in 20-year-old apprentice - and anyone else who is interested - on message with all he knows about bowling.
He said: "I'll pass on anything I know. I don't keep it secret; I will give anybody anything I've got for them to improve their game."
To be selected for the squad for the Caribbean next spring, the pace pairing who opened for England in Monday's
Twenty20 defeat against Pakistan simply need to impress first in this one-day series, then the Champions' Trophy and then the trination one-day series in Australia.
It is a qualification and elimination process which may well remind Gough of his television appearances last autumn.
He said: "It's in our hands. I hope that - while Harmy is out - we can both give ourselves a chance to go to the World Cup," he said.
"I've got a chance now, so I've just got to bowl as I'd expect myself to.
"I'll be looking to be aggressive this series. I keep hearing that my pace is dropping, I'm bowling slower and slower but, on the day, I can still bowl lively."
Gough knows, despite England's injury problems, that he still has plenty of worthy rivals. He said: "If I bowl like I can do, there will be a chance for me to go away this winter. It's not nailed-on - there are plenty of bowlers vying for it."
Even so, he reasons that the bowlers playing at this stage must be foremost in coach Duncan Fletcher's plans.
He said: "The World Cup is getting closer and the time for experimenting is short. By now, you really want to be knowing your best 16 or 17 players. I think he [Fletcher] does know that now. It's just a case of which one of us makes the cut."
Gough is putting no extra pressure on himself, though, having done much of his toughest work already with Essex this summer. "They've given everyone else the opportunity to take my place, but nobody has done it," he said of England's selection since he was last in the reckoning more than a year ago."