When Brian Lara first saw Mark Wagh bat at Edgbaston in 1998, he immediately recognised a player of "exceptional ability."
Remarking on the young man's future, Lara said Wagh "played shots that few can play; shots that make a difference."
The intervening years have perhaps produced more frustration than fulfillment but anyone who saw Wagh's innings at The Rose Bowl yesterday will have left the ground knowing they had been treated to a demonstration of batting of the highest class.
This was a century of rare quality. With his team-mates struggling, he made batting appear easy. While the top order were blown away by an England fast bowler of real menace, Wagh produced a series of the most sublime strokes in reaching the 20th first-class century of his career and the second of the summer.
There is some truth in the criticism levelled at Wagh that, for a man of his ability, he does not contribute often enough. He has taken time to recover his best form after a year out through injury but yesterday renewed hopes that his best years could still be to come.
Here he stroked 23 boundaries. He cut brilliantly, timed the ball off his legs with perfection and pulled with certainly. And if there is anyone in the game who plays the cover drive better, this journalist has not seen him.
It was not a perfect innings. Several times he hit only air after flashing at deliveries well outside off stump, while a thick edge off James Bruce flew just wide of second slip when he had 81.
Such moments aside, however, this was an innings of style and substance. For it was a mighty opportune contribution and came after Warwickshire had lost two wickets in the first over and were in danger of squandering first use of this pitch.
Chris Tremlett accounted for Ian Westwood and Jonathan Trott within minutes of the start and posed problems for all but Wagh throughout the day.
There is something of the beast in Tremlett. Even when not at the top of his game - and he is nowhere near at present - he is an unpleasant proposition for batsmen. Generating steep bounce from his 6ft 9in, his large frame also allows him to find sharp pace.
England would have a world-beater on their hands if Tremlett's vast ability could be harnessed. Although this was his first five-wicket haul of the summer, it came in front of England selector Geoff Miller and suggested that the bowler may yet have a role to play on the Ashes tour.