Gentle giant or England's enforcer?
Only one man in England's 16-strong Ashes squad has never faced Australia in international cricket. If it is not too great a leap of faith, consider this: that same man could hold the key to the hopes of thousands of travelling supporters this winter.
Steven Finn was fast-tracked into England's Test side in March. If not unusually rapid, he is unusually tall, and allied to his natural pace and bounce he is more consistent than most young pace bowlers.
That consistency - an attribute he believes he can improve - is important. When determined Australian batsmen are well set on flat Aussie decks, Andrew Strauss needs to know that Finn is a genuine wicket-taking option who can also stem the flow of runs.
Finn's action has been compared to both Glenn McGrath and Angus Fraser (Getty)
The uncertainty surrounding James Anderson's fitness following a blow to the ribs while boxing - yes, quite - means England need the other seamers to deliver strong performances in the warm-up games as a prelude to Test success.
It will be interesting to see what Finn produces. In eight Tests, he has only bowled at the flaky batsmen of Bangladesh and Pakistan, mostly in helpful English conditions. Even before the players reach Brisbane for the first Test, taking on toughened Australian state batsmen on their own tracks will be a challenge on its own merit.
Born in Watford where he first picked up the game - "even back then I tried to bowl at people's throats" - and a proud Hornets fan to this day, he has spent October keeping fit and focusing on his Australian assignment.
And yet there have been distractions. He has been on a fleeting trip to Bangalore, where he picked up the ICC emerging player of the year award, pulled over by the police in his brand new Jaguar - they thought he had stolen it - and headhunted by the preppy American clothes retailer Abercrombie and Fitch. Perhaps it was the sensible haircut that he occasionally gets ribbed about by his team-mates.
Some of those details are provided via a perusal of the Middlesex fast bowler's witty and at times self-deprecating Twitter feed.
Meeting Finn, 21 and 6ft 6½in tall, at a StreetChance coaching session in Brixton,
I explore with him the oddity that he will almost certainly find himself bowling to Ricky Ponting, 14 years his senior, at some point during the first two days in Brisbane.
Did he ever imagine he would one day play in a Test against someone who he has only previously encountered from the comforts of a television sofa?
"To be honest, no. But I've always wanted to challenge myself as hard as I can and to be playing against the best players in the world, especially Ricky Ponting who averages 56, I think, in Test match cricket. He's a fantastic player and to have the opportunity to pit my wits against the best in the world is fantastic."
Finn's attention to detail about Ponting's average is interesting. "I love my stats. I'm always looking at my stats to see where I am and have always got a very good idea about what's happening. I can usually get it down to a couple of decimal places, which is pretty sad but is a good way of me focusing on my job and something that I love looking at."
So what benchmark does he want to reach at the end of the Ashes? "I don't want to chase something. When you let things happen they happen much quicker," he adds enigmatically.
Finn during the pre-Ashes boot camp in which James Anderson broke a rib (Photo: Getty)
Studious in demeanour, thoughtful about his words... but what will the cauldron-like intensity of the Gabba, not to mention the other four big Australian stadiums, feel like for someone more used to the friendly chatter of Lord's?
Briefly, Finn retracts himself from the spotlight, insisting he must first wait to be selected. "I'm more thinking about getting myself ready to go out there and do a good job for my country. If I'm not selected, obviously I'll be disappointed but I'm not going to waste too much energy worrying whether or not I'm good enough."
But the answer to a separate question suggests someone who is not bashful about playing a big role: "I love the attention. I love having the opportunity to play in front of a lot of people and influence them and potentially put in a great performance for people. I think it's great to be out there in the limelight."
If there is a drawback to Finn's bowling it's the lack of lateral movement he generates. Even his England team-mate Paul Collingwood admitted to me: "He doesn't swing it a lot."
Otherwise, there are plenty of positive signals, such as similarities with Aussie greatGlenn McGrath and England Test bowler Angus Fraser. For the record he does not model himself on either, though he concedes "my natural attributes are similar to those guys".
Nevertheless, those attributes - steady line and length, steep bounce, enough nip to occasionally rush the batsman - are good ones to have in Australia, are they not?
"It's good to hear people saying that about me because until you hear it you don't know. I just run up and bowl and things look totally different to me compared to what people see on the outside. But it's a great privilege to be talked about in that way and it's a great privilege to be going over to Australia."
The list of seam bowlers who have helped win Ashes series for England in Australia is a select one. In the past 50 years, only Bob Willis and Ian Botham stand out, aside from an odd flash of brilliance from the likes of John Snow, Graham Dilley and Gladstone Small.
Although the attack this time looks better than many of those assembled for recent Australian campaigns, there are question marks over Anderson's potency with Kookaburra balls and Stuart Broad's temperament. Graeme Swann is in terrific form but will need high-quality support.
And that is precisely where Finn comes in. The fascination is this: we don't yet know whether he will be the gentle giant he appears to be or the hard-nosed enforcer England want him to be.