Jimmy Anderson, fourth in the ICC's Test bowling rankings and leader of an England attack that has retained the Ashes, has given credit to the sacked England coach Peter Moores for showing the faith that set him on the path to success.
Moores was criticised on Friday by Kevin Pietersen, who suggested that his own rebellion against Moores when England captain in early 2009, which resulted in both men losing their jobs, put England en route to success in Australia that otherwise would not have happened.
Anderson, oblivious to Pietersen's verbal attack, had more encouraging words for Moores, "It was Peter Moores in 2008, who wanted me to lead the attack and who gave me more responsibility," he said. "We were in New Zealand, Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison were dropped and me and Stuart (Broad) came in. He put a lot of faith in us and gave us a lot of responsibility and I think that boosted my confidence."
Anderson was a very different figure in 2007, when he arrived at the SCG with his spirits low, his impact minimal and England on the road to a whitewash. "(It was) my worst memory," he said, and among England players he is not alone in that.He had no worthwhile relationship with the then bowling coach, Kevin Shine, and was so uncommunicative in media briefings that one Australian reporter stormed out of what seemed to be a silent-movie audition exclaiming: "What the hell was all that about?"
That reporter came up with an immediate theory that Anderson was a prime example of what was wrong with the English, although today the quick is a prime example of what is right with them.
His ability is evident, any shyness outside his close friends tempered by a confidence in his ability, and his waspish on-field moments are better judged than they used to be. Sydneysiders might have expected him to sledge the new year last night rather than welcome it in.
Quietly he has drawn lessons from three England bowling coaches: Allan Donald, Ottis Gibson and the most influential of all, David Saker. He credits the Australian with teaching him how to take wickets when the ball is not swinging and also with improving his thought processes, discipline and resolve. "Sakes has been brilliant to me. He's given me a lot of confidence, he has helped me work on my skills out here. When it's not swinging he has helped me develop wicket-taking balls. I always knew I had a lot more ability and skill than I showed in my early career. I've improved a hell of a lot.
"Body language is a huge thing - certainly as a bowler. You don't want to be seen trudging back to your mark, so I try and keep my shoulders back and be as positive as possible. In the past I've been pretty average in that aspect. There is a difference between people telling me that and me actually seeing it when I look at games on TV."
As for the verbals, he says it is "a real spur-of-the-moment thing, part of my natural character". That the trait is really a natural facet of his character is not immediately apparent because he is primarily an undemonstrative and chilled-out man. At times he seems to be acting out a role that is beyond him. But there is impatience, even petulance, deep within him, and when his frustration grows he feels the need to unearth it. "It really gets me fired up if the time is right," he said. "I don't always do it and I pick the players as well as I possibly can. I don't really have a target. But I do have players not to pick - someone like Ricky Ponting because, if you get under his skin, he's more likely to dig in because he likes the contest.