Nick Gubbins admitted his first first-class hundred was not only a monkey off his back but would mean Andrew Strauss being out of his ear.
The Middlesex opening batsman, dismissed three times previously in the 90s, was a picture of delight and relief in almost equal measure as he stood arms aloft towards the home dressing room at Lord’s after finally crossing the threshold of a century on day three of the County Championship match with Somerset.
Comparisons have been drawn between the 22-year-old and Strauss, not just because they are Middlesex men and fellow left-handers, but because Gubbins trod a similar educational path to the former England captain to first Radley College, before going on to study at Leeds University.
Strauss has also been a mentor to the Geography graduate with one message in particular to turn starts into three figures ringing in his ears.
The fact that pep talk was almost two years ago led Gubbins to quip he’d been slow on the uptake.
“Converting did come up in one of our conversations, but that was a couple of years ago, so I obviously haven’t learned very much,” he said.
“Straussy has had some little tips for me here and there and he helps me out every now and then, but I try not to bother him too much because he is a busy man from what I hear.
“Words can’t actually describe the feeling (of getting to 100). Ever since I have come to Middlesex as a boy it has been about walking out at Lord’s which is as special as it gets and today just topped that off even more.
“This is a landmark to kick on from and a bit of a monkey off my back, so now I can get on and play my cricket and enjoy batting.”
Richmond-born Gubbins knows he has been spoilt when it comes to influences on his fledgling career, with not just Strauss to pass on wisdom.
His Middlesex education began two seasons back with now Somerset captain Chris Rogers and he has since shared the battle with the new ball with current England man Nick Compton and now Sam Robson who narrowly missed his fourth century in a row at the home of cricket when out for 99 in Tuesday’s action.
“I started out with Buck (Rogers) and that was a great learning process in itself to learn from one of the best opening bats going around, especially given he is a left-hander as well,” he added.
“I’ve been lucky here at Middlesex to learn from the likes of Rogers, Robson and Compo as well, so three of the top batters.
“I’ve spoken already about how much I love batting with Sam. You can see for yourselves the form that he is in, so he breeds confidence in me and I thrive off that at the moment.”
Gubbins’ insatiable appetite for runs was summed up by his annoyance at edging to slip for 109 off the last delivery before the second new ball.
So it seems having ticked the convert to centuries box the next learning curve is convert to daddy ones.
“The annoying thing is I felt I had more in the tank today, so something to learn from for next time that it wasn’t a great time to get out just before the new ball.
“It was one of those things. It is a ball you have been whacking all day and yesterday. It was short and wide so it had to go, but it was one mistake and you are out. I guess that is batting isn’t it.”
It was a small gripe on a day made all the more special by the presence of his parents at Lord’s to witness his special moment.
However, with it being father Richard’s 59th birthday, he was looking forward to giving dad the limelight at a family celebration tonight.
“I think my parents were here in secret and on my dad’s birthday too.
“I’m sure there will be a couple of beers. I don’t think I’ve stolen the limelight, with him being 59 I think he’ll get the main attention.”
The young man deserves to savour such moments. Just for one night furthering the cricket education can wait.