Tom Banton's eye-catching performance in the first T20I against Pakistan may not guarantee his place for the remainder of the international summer, but it has provided precisely the sort of competition that England will need in the run-up to next year's World Cup, according to Graham Thorpe, the interim head coach of the white-ball squad.
On a soggy evening in Manchester, Banton was England's star turn with 71 from 42 balls, an innings that was especially impressive given the stodgy nature of the Old Trafford wicket. After a cautious start in the Powerplay, in which he was dropped at slip off Shaheen Afridi, he climbed into Pakistan's spinners with a fusillade of boundaries to seize his opportunity at the top of the order in the absence of Jason Roy to a side strain.
At the age of 21, it was Banton's first half-century in T20Is, following a hard-earned fifty in the final ODI against Ireland at the start of the month, and his first in international cricket in his favoured position as an opener, where he has made his mark in both the T20 Blast for Somerset and in last year's Big Bash for Brisbane Heat.
However, with Roy expected be fit for the Australia series next month, and Jos Buttler in line for a return to the squad after missing this leg of the summer following his time in the Test bubble, Thorpe warned that Banton may have to wait his turn for a more regular berth at the top of the order.
"I'm not going to completely put my head on the block and pick the batting line-up [but] Jos and Jason have opened the batting," he said. "I don't see any reason why it will change overnight. But as we've seen here, with Jason not being fit for this series, that thing can happen to any of your players. You write down one XI, and in your own head you're trying to write down a second XI as well, just in case.
"There are opportunities for the players with the way things have panned out this summer, with the squads being separated," Thorpe added. "Tom's a young lad very early in his career. If you can step up and put in performances like that, you'll certainly going to create competition for the squad, and that's what we're looking for as well."
The official postponement of the T20 World Cup, which had been scheduled to get underway in Australia in October, has given England an extended opportunity to blood a new generation of players. However, as captain Eoin Morgan pointed out before the first match, there is also a need for England to play their strongest XI as often as possible in the lead-up to the tournament.
"It is important for the T20 side and the one-day side to try to get the strongest team out, so players do get used to the positions we want them to bat in," Thorpe said. "With regards to the whole squad though, if people get injured, you also want to have people who can come in to those positions. You want your young players to come through, and it keeps everybody progressing their games, and that's really important thing for us.
"If we can, you try to get players to bat in similar positions to what they're used to," Thorpe added. "I know Tom in the 50-over game has batted five, which is also not bad for his development. But in the T20 game he has generally opened in his career, and that for us was pretty straightforward to put him at the top.
"The most impressive thing was the way he got through that Powerplay. He got an early chance and got away with it, but I thought he held his nerve really well through that first Powerplay. It wasn't a flyer by any means, but the way he was very clinical with his strokeplay after that was impressive. That's the type of performance which is not going to do him any harm."
As he settled into his innings, Banton began to unfurl the repertoire which has attracted lofty comparisons with Kevin Pietersen - not least the power and dexterity of his leg-side boundary-scoring. But while Thorpe did not play down the similarities, he warned not to expect too much too soon from a player who is still in his first year of international cricket.
"Yeah, it's very early," he said. "Let him be comfortable in the environment he's in and let him develop at his own pace as well. He's certainly talented, and you can tell he's very hungry as a player, and he works well at his game.
"It's always pleasing when you see someone perform on the big stage as a young lad. The environment with Morgs has created as well is very much trying to take that positive option as a player. That allows people to be comfortable in the environment as well."
Sunday's match will be the first international to be shown live on the BBC in 21 years, and aside from last year's one-off deal for the World Cup final, the first on any major terrestrial channel in the UK since 2005, and Thorpe welcomed the prospect of giving the sport renewed exposure to a wider audience.
"Yeah, it's fantastic," he said. "A great opportunity for cricket in general, and for us as a team. So we'll be hoping we can put on a good show. I don't think we need to put any more pressure on ourselves as a team. We'll enjoy it. Hopefully the audience is potentially a larger one which watches the game."
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket