Stephen Fleming personified test cricket class.
Style, elegance, technique. The lanky left-hander had the lot, even if he struggled for the big scores to match his ability.
But now one of New Zealand's finest first class batsmen wants New Zealand Cricket to give the traditional form of the game a bit of a bash.
Fleming, who coaches in the Indian Premier League and Aussie Big Bash, says New Zealand should scale back its emphasis on test cricket in favour of promoting players who excel in the shorter forms.
The conflicts being caused by the rise of T20 cricket, particularly in Australia, came to a head when veteran Kiwi star Kiwi Ross Taylor was blocked by the NZC hierarchy from a quick hit with the Melbourne Renegades this month.
Fleming told Radio Sport's Martin Devlin that New Zealand cricket was at an important crossroad.
"We're not really ever going to threaten one or two in the world (in test cricket). We've come close at times but it's only going to be for brief moments," said Fleming, the Melbourne Stars coach.
"We don't have the resources (players). If we lose a few players we're exposed. To compete against the big countries is always going to be a challenge.
"So why not focus on the shorter forms of the game? We can win World Cups - we got close last year. And we can win T20 because we have that type of player.
"Maybe a change of thinking needs to take place to encourage our players to be exposed to these world competitions at the expense of four day cricket.
"There needs to be a change of focus back to the short forms of the game...it is an interesting stage for New Zealand cricket, how everything fits in."
The Big Bash is a runaway success in Australia particularly in drawing crowds to grounds - up to 80,000 have watched matches at the MCG.
The last two seasons suggest the Big Bash - which Fleming rates as the premier competition ahead of the flawed IPL - is here to stay as a major part of the sporting scene. And T20 is having an influence in many ways.
Fleming reckoned that a lot of coaching manuals need to be scrapped, such was the change in batting approaches.
"The modern cricketer like David Warner has taken the aggression from the shorter forms into tests," he said.
"It's about honing the aggression and skills athletes will have then teaching defence, which is a fundamental shift. So many coaching books need to be burnt.
"Past players will be screwing their noses up at what I'm saying. But the norm now is to try to reverse sweep, or go over the top. It is about power rather than timing or finesse."