Kolkata, April 26: Sometimes, selection of players makes a major headline in events like World Cup.
There are instances in history when someone unexpected chips in and leaves behind an evergreen legacy. In the 2003 World Cup, one player who had made such an impact was Australian Andrew Symonds.
Twenty-eight-years old then, the big-hitting batting all-rounder was not a first choice for the Australian selectors for the 2003 edition that was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
However, with the defending champions in dire straits with the unexpected ouster of Shane Warne for testing positive in drug consumption, suspension of Darren Lehmann for racial abuse and the injury to the ever-reliable Michael Bevan, Symonds found an easy route into the squad. The man also had the backing of captain Ricky Ponting which saw him overcoming the selectors' resistance.
The England-born Symonds was picked for Australia's first game of the tournament and it was against Pakistan in Johannesburg. Waqar Younis's side had reduced the Australians to 86 for four in the 16th over.
Walked in Symonds, who then had 54 games under his belt and averaged around 23. But what he did after that was unbelievable and perhaps silenced all his critics for ever. The man launched a counter-attack against an attack that featured the likes of Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar besides waqar himself.
After reaching his 50 off 60 deliveries, Symonds cut loose and when the Australian innings ended, he remained unbeaten on 143 off 125 balls (next 93 in just 65 balls).
His knock included 18 fours and two maximums. He completed his century in only 92 balls. Australia scored 310 for eight and went on to win the game by 82 runs.
Symonds in fact had a successful stint with the bat right throughout the tournament and his success made it evident what a captain's faith on his player can do, as Ian Chappell had said later.