Andrew Strauss will emulate Alec Stewart, and chalk up a 21st century first, if he can survive this summer's Test series against South Africa with his job intact.
Stewart, in the last Millennium, is the most recent England captain to remain in charge through the stresses and strains of a tough campaign at home to these tourists. With honours eventually even in 2003 and then in defeat in 2008, Nasser Hussain and his successor Michael Vaughan both called time on their own Test captaincy eras.
Present both times in opposition, and leadership, was Graeme Smith - back again to lock horns with Strauss, starting at The Kia Oval on Thursday. But back-to-form opener Strauss did not speak like someone who fears it may be in peril. Asked about Smith's knack of seeing off his opposite numbers, he said: "I don't think he sees himself as a 'captain slayer'."
He continued: "I'm sure he's going to focus on trying to make sure South Africa play good cricket and that's what I'll be doing (with England) as well."
Strauss can speak with the authority of a leader who has some potent weapons at his disposal, notably an attack adept at bowling the opposition out twice.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad and probably Tim Bresnan - Steven Finn remains an increasingly evident stalking horse, and Graham Onions was already an outsider before he suffered a hamstring strain - are the seamers who will be deployed against opponents almost equally well-resourced, by reputation and on scorebook inspection.
"Our bowling attack's record speaks for itself," said Strauss. "We haven't needed that fifth bowler while taking 20 wickets pretty much continuously over the last 24 months or so ... our three seamers and Swanny [off-spinner Graeme Swann] have always done a good job for us. I am very comfortable with our seamers and with our bowling attack, full stop.
"I think it's a match for any side in the world and I think they have proved that continuously over the last three or four years."
England's general retains faith then, in his forces. But Strauss has a healthy respect nonetheless for tourists who arrive on a mission to knock him and his team off their number one perch.
"I've always felt South Africa have adapted to English conditions as well as any other team," he said. "We expect them to be a very stern challenge to us. They have a proud record and have played a lot of good cricket over an extended period of time. They have a lot of experienced campaigners. If we're looking for an easy series then we're barking up the wrong tree."