Players in the right place at the right time


Sporting success is 90 percent hard work and 10 percent luck, they say, but it does help to be in the right place at the right time, as Australians John Hastings and Peter Handscomb have discovered.

The pair have been called into the Australia ODI squad in the face of a glut of injuries, and given they were handily placed in England already, the selectors opted to call them up rather than fly new players in.

It's not completely unjustified, with Hastings having a wonderful season with the ball for Durham, and Handscomb doing rather well with the bat for Gloucestershire and Australia A.

But they probably wouldn't have been called up if the series was being played in Australia. Here are four more examples of players being in the right place at the right time, though none went on to great international success.

Luke Pomersbach – Australia

One of the more controversial players to wear Australia's colours, the Perth-born batsman played just the one T20, against New Zealand in 2007, for the Aussies before off-field issues ended his international hopes.

He was hastily rushed into the side on the day of the game to replace Brad Hodge, who had injured his back while putting on his trousers. Pomersbach was already at the ground, having arrived to watch from the stands, and he made 15 runs off seven balls.

Any hopes he had of adding to his caps were ended when he went on a drinking binge with Shaun Marsh, was involved in various drink driving incidents, and was arrested for assault in 2012, though the charges were dropped.

Scott Borthwick – England

The Durham leg-spinner (who is actually a batsman, not that you'd know it from how England used him) was conveniently playing Grade Cricket in Sydney when England veteran Graeme Swann announced his retirement in the middle of the 2013/14 Ashes Down Under.

With England already having lost the urn, Borthwick was drafted in for the final match at the SCG, and made his debut alongside Boyd Rankin and Gary Ballance.

Unlike Simon Kerrigan, who had a disastrous debut in the fifth Ashes Test in England a few months earlier, Borthwick wasn't too bad. He took four wickets in the match, including three in the second innings, but the Aussies still won by 281 runs. He's not played for England since.

Andrew Puttick – South Africa

The long-time Cape Cobras batsman is often considered one of the more unlucky players in South African cricket. When he was at his peak, there was no space for him, and at nearly 35 now, his time has passed. But he did play one ODI, in 2005 in Cape Town.

Despite more than one call up to the Proteas squad, including a tour to Sri Lanka, he never got a debut prior to this one game against New Zealand. He was handily placed in Cape Town, so when Boeta Dippenaar got injured just before the game, the call went out to Putters.

They was not his finest five minutes though. He faced up to Shane Bond and survived four balls before being removed by the fifth, for a duck. He walked off the international stage, never to return again.

Darren Pattinson – England

This is one of the more infamous call-ups England have made over the years, and the brother of Australia fast bowler James Pattinson has become the butt of a few jokes. He was a roof tiler before his 2008 Test debut.

Pattinson, who was born in England and raised in Oz, was living and working in England when he decided to play for Nottinghamshire in 2008. He had played just 11 matches for Notts before the ECB came calling.

He was originally meant to be cover for James Anderson, but was asked to play against South Africa when Ryan Sidebottom picked up a last-minute injury. He took two wickets in the match, at an economy rate of 3.18.

Ian Botham, the former England all-rounder, was furious with the selection, saying: "The most illogical, pathetic and diabolical piece of selecting I've seen. The selectors have embarrassed English cricket. I want to hear a proper explanation for this, as do England fans around the country."

Lindsay du Plessis