Bengaluru, April 22: Sometimes, selections of squads for World Cups generate interesting tales. There are players who have otherwise done very little in their careers delivered their best on the world stage. While there are also those who made a surprise cut into the squad but couldn't make use of the life-time opportunity.
One such important story related to selection of WC squads happened in 1992. It happened with two teams - England and New Zealand. Both teams made two selections to cater to their specific needs and one of them had really gone on to leave the cricketing world stunned.
For England, Sir Ian Botham was picked as the pinch-hitting opener in the England squad. Aged 36 then, the legendary all-rounder was fast approaching his twilight but was picked to company his skipper Graham Gooch to open the innings.
It is not that Botham had not opened for England in the past and had appeared in 12 innings batting at No.2. The move had not produced eye-catching success as Botham scored 192 runs in the tournament at a modest average of just over 21 with just one half-century scored against the eternal foes - Australia - in Sydney but his batting in the opening slots had helped the English team full of all-rounders to deepen their order.
The other move was that of making off-spinner Dipak Patel the opening bowler and it was one of the most innovative ones shown by the then Kiwi captain Martin Crowe. Patel was no big name and just a part-time off-spinner but the very idea of opening the match with him was something that had rattled the opponents and all of them, except Pakistan, lost to them in that tournament.
Patel was told that he was going to open the bowling on the eve of New Zealand's first game which was against Australia in Auckland and the Kenya-born cricketer was the sensation in that WC. Though he took only eight wickets in nine matches (he didn't bowl against Zimbabwe) but it was his miserly economy rate of 3.10 which was the tournament's best in that edition and allowed Crowe to put pressure on the opponent batsman from the word go.