In the aftermath of an embarrassing 2015 Cricket World Cup campaign, England captain Eoin Morgan was talking to Brendon McCullum, whose team had done decidedly better.
Morgan was looking for a way out of the negativity that always seemed to wrap its arms around England, particularly around World Cup time. He liked what he saw when he watched the Black Caps play and wondered why his infinitely better resourced team could not do something similar.
What McCullum told him, essentially, was that England had to learn to play without fear. They were a team of great players who all played like this match could be their last (which, in fairness, given the capricious history of English selectors, it could have been).
In the four years since, Morgan has transformed England's fortunes. His players have licence to fail and, as a result, they do so less. They took New Zealand's blueprint from 2015 – hit the ball hard, take wickets at the top of the innings – and stretched it to ridiculous levels, particularly on the batting side.
In the one-day internationals they have played since January 1, 2018 (against tier one nations) their average run rate has been 6.25 per over. That equates to about 312 runs each time they play. It's an extraordinary number over a prolonged period of time.
There have been 44 scores of 350-plus in ODIs in this World Cup cycle. England alone account for 16 of them. To understand how ridiculous that is, in the 11 years between January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2010, there were 43 plus-350 totals.
The only currency that counts in ODI cricket now is really big totals. Every now and then you're going to see a team go completely belly-up trying to pursue them, but a nice 250 to 280 score is not going to win you many big games in England this year.
The game has changed. ODIs are like long Twenty20 matches. I wonder whether New Zealand ever got that memo.
One of the few teams that didn't follow the blueprint the Black Caps laid out in 2015 is, well, New Zealand.
They've accumulated just three 350+ scores since 2015, two of them in the same series against Sri Lanka last season.
New Zealand scored at 6.5 runs per over against the tier one sides at the previous World Cup. Since the start of 2018, that rate has dropped to 5.66 RPO, a fall that works out to about 43 runs per innings.
There are a lot of variables that go into big totals, including ground size, pitch and conditions and, importantly, personnel.
On the latter count, New Zealand does not appear to be set up for the mammoth totals that are going to be necessary to win the World Cup. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are clearly the two best players but they are as inclined to accumulate than dominate, particularly early in the innings.
Tom Latham (busted finger and all) is a good player, but he's no Jos Buttler.
England pick guys from one to eight in the order who are capable of not just big scores, but of big scores at strike rates well north of 120.
At this rate there would seem to be an awful lot of pressure being stacked on one man's shoulders ahead of the World Cup, particularly if Colin Munro is now on the fringes looking in.
There's no point sitting on the fence, I'm calling it early: if New Zealand are any hope of progressing to the semifinals and beyond, Martin Guptill is going to have to score 500 tournament runs and he's going to have to do it in 400 balls.
Only then will Williamson, Taylor and Latham have the time they need to accelerate, and for New Zealand to post the sort of totals that the likes of England, Australia and India won't pass with their feet up.
No pressure, Marty.
Had a bit of spare time yesterday so I popped along to the Browns Bay Open PSA men's squash final, a tournament that offered prize money and world ranking points.
The final was a bit of a one-sided romp to be honest, with Lwamba Chileshe far too good for his higher ranked opponent Gabe Yam. It was, however, another great example of how profoundly New Zealand sport has changed and how it will continue to do so.
Chileshe was born in Zambia, Yam the Philippines. Both live here and play under the New Zealand flag.
A couple of years ago I wrote about the boom in badminton, particularly in Auckland where the volume of Asian immigration has been highest.
Squash is not as popular due in large part because squash facilities cost a lot more to build and maintain and are therefore harder to access, but it is popular. Unlike badminton, New Zealand has top 10 players in Joelle King and Paul Coll. Only Egypt, which dominates the men's and women's rankings, can match that feat.
Squash looks a lot different here than it did in the Devoy, Davenport, Norman heyday, but that's not a bad thing.