The Supersub experiment, which made Vikram Solanki a little piece of cricket history in 2005 when he was the first used, came and went from one-day internationals after less than a year, but Jonny Bairstow's one-day career is reviving the memories.
For the second time in two seasons he replaced Jos Buttler - one of the biggest pairs of shoes to fill in one-day cricket - and produced a match-winning performance. Last year against New Zealand, at Chester-le-Street, he struck an unbeaten 83 to secure a series victory, in his first ODI innings for nearly three years, but at least on that occasion he had fair warning that he would be needed when called in as cover for Buttler who had split his webbing.
On Thursday, at his home ground of Headingley, he had "about 32 minutes" before walking out with the gloves after Buttler pulled up lame in warm-ups. A few minutes more, after the toss, and England would either have had to patch up Buttler or ask for permission from Pakistan to replace him.
Bairstow was very tidy behind the stumps - he was especially sharp against Chris Jordan's late yorkers - and then contributed a measured 61 off 83 balls, the second half-century of his bitty one-day career, to ensure England turned around a potentially problematic 72 for 4 into another comfortable victory.
Yet it is entirely possible, should Buttler be fit for the final match in Cardiff, and he was rated a good chance to be available, that Bairstow will be back carrying the drinks on Sunday.
"I don't really get a choice, do I? It's the decision they make," Bairstow said. "It's beyond my pay grade, selection and who bats where.
"I'll be desperately disappointed. But that's me as a person, the will to play for England in any format going. When you're left out of the side, it's not very nice - and when you get in, you want to assess that opportunity and take it by the nuts and crack on."
All Bairstow's one-day opportunities since the last World Cup have come when other players have been rested or injured. Earlier this season he played the whole one-day series against Sri Lanka - albeit batting just three times - because Ben Stokes was unavailable and last year played three times against Australia when Buttler was given a break.
He watched on from the Trent Bridge dressing room as England racked up 444 for 3 - as did his key ally in this match, Stokes, but at least he was in the XI - and while he acknowledged the enviable options that are helping produce England's eye-catching displays it does not make missing out any easier.
"It's a special group of players, and we believe we can go a long way in world competitions and series," he said. "But naturally, I'm frustrated not to be in that XI week in week out.
"Every time I get an opportunity I want to try to impress, and that's all I can do. Opportunities at the moment are a bit few and far between. You've just got to take it on the chin, crack on and hope you take the opportunity when it does come along."
Adding to the significance of the moment for Bairstow, his Man-of-the-Match performance came on his late father's birthday. After the game, he tweeted a picture in front of the Yorkshire capped players board with the message: "Delighted with today... Special day! Happy Birthday Dad... That's one for you!"