Contrasting pair hope for similar fortunes
But while this May Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison failed to receive a phone call from England's selectors, two men cut from similar cloth found their mobiles buzzing with good news.
Barring a five-day downpour of biblical proportions in NW8, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions will make their Test debuts against the West Indies at Lord's on Wednesday.
Bresnan is a hark back to yesteryear, an old-fashioned Yorkshire swinger with what former England captain Michael Atherton describes as a "hefty bowler's backside".
Onions is tall and possesses a lean physique, comfortable in his 6ft 2in frame, with a high bowling action and the ability to reach 90mph.
And just as Harmison and Hoggard are contrasting bowlers and characters, the same can be said of Bresnan and Onions.
Bresnan is one of those refreshingly uncomplicated cricketers from the "if it's there to 'it, 'it it" school, while Onions is more introspective, prone to throwing in the odd third-person reference.
A Pontefract upbringing probably has a large influence on Bresnan's no-nonsense approach.
Asked about his potential to swing the ball away from the right-hander at Lord's, the 24-year-old replied in a thick west Yorkshire accent: "S'pose conditions are suiting it."
Bresnan is one of those multi-dimensional cricketers admired by ex-England coach Duncan Fletcher, whose batting ability will buttress a worryingly long England tail.
Although he has three first-class centuries to his name, Bresnan dismissed comparisons between himself and Andrew Flintoff.
"I might develop into a Flintoff at one time or another, but I'm just happy with my role as a bowling all-rounder who bats lower down and gets runs when needed," he said.
Fletcher gave him his first taste of international cricket aged 21 in 2006, when the flashing blade of Sanath Jayasuriya ripped Bresnan's youthful confidence to shreds.
"It wasn't just me who got taken apart," Bresnan was keen to point out, despite being put away for six an over in a 5-0 one-day series mauling against Sri Lanka.
"He took everyone apart, Harmy, Kabir Ali, Saj [Mahmood], pretty much everyone.
"I think I was picked on potential rather than performance in 2006. Last year was the first year I thought I was ready for this, but didn't get a shout.
"I believe I am ready now - I would like to do my talking on the pitch."
Onions is a more complex character whose elevation has coincided with a period of personal introspection.
"I didn't travel (to Canterbury), which hurt me a lot," he said. "Even talking about it now...the lads say 'do you remember that game?' It gave me the kick to do the hard work."
A self-confessed hothead in his younger days, the Gateshead-born fast bowler acknowledged his unrefined aggression was affecting his bowling performances.
"Maybe I wasn't mentally strong enough," said Onions, the County Championship's leading wicket-taker this season with 15 at a very healthy average of 16.40.
"But there's a difference between being a hothead and being determined to get my goals and targets.
"I used to channel my aggression in the wrong direction. Now it seems to be going in the right direction.
"That aggression can be put in at the gym or bowling in the nets, not just at the batsman."
A verbal joust with Justin Langer in the championship match between Durham and Somerset last week perfectly encapsulated the new and improved Onions.
"I did have a couple of words with him, he had a couple of words back," said Onions.
"But I didn't lose my focus, whereas maybe a few years ago I would have lost control of where the ball was going."
That adjustment helped him to eight wickets at Taunton, including 6-31 on the day of his call-up as Somerset were dismissed for 69 on the best batting track in the country.
"As long as I keep the aggressive personality that I am, be Graham Onions, then I don't think there's any reason to change," he added.
Hoggard made his England debut against the West Indies at Lord's nine summers ago, collecting 0-49 despite his fellow seamers running amok and dismissing the tourists for 54.
And Harmison, like Hoggard, was dropped following his first Test appearance.
Both Bresnan and Onions have every reason to hope for better.