Three sporting selection gambles that paid off

Three sporting selection gambles that paid off

by | Jul 24, 2015 | Blog, Summer 2015, Cricket, Sporting Success Stories

England’s batting debacle at Lord’s last weekend prompted countless calls for change so it got us thinking about sporting selection gambles that paid off. England’s selectors eventually plumped for Jonny Bairstow for the third Ashes Test – with Alex Hales, James Taylor, Eoin Morgan and even Kevin Pietersen among those mentioned. With five centuries and an average of over 100 in the County Championship by the time of his call-up, Bairstow’s selection in favour of the out-of-form Gary Ballance was hardly controversial. Picking the big hitting Hales or Morgan would have been a braver – or possibly more reckless – option. Not to mention England outcast Pietersen. Only time will tell if England’s misfiring top order will improve, but while we are waiting to find out here are our top three sporting selection gambles that paid off. David Steele becomes England’s unlikely Ashes hero in 1975 Grey-haired Northants plodder Steele was about as unspectacular as it gets. Averaging just 31 in 12 seasons of first-class cricket, he was plucked out of obscurity after England skipper Tony Greig asked various umpires to identify the hardest batsman to dismiss in county cricket. Low and behold, Steele was thrust into the cauldron of an Ashes series, while Aussie pace duo Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson ripped through the England order in a fashion that rings some all-too-familiar bells 40 years later. Fast forward a few months and Steele averaged over 60 – making four half centuries in three Tests – and was awarded Sports Personality of the Year. Toto Schillaci wins the 1990 World Cup Golden Boot Swarthy goal poacher Salvatore “Toto”...
Can an underdog ever win Wimbledon again?

Can an underdog ever win Wimbledon again?

Another Wimbledon Championships passes and the favourites have once again “aced” their way to victory, prompting the question, can an underdog ever win Wimbledon again? In the past 11 years the only real ‘surprise’ finalist in the men’s competition has been Tomas Berdych in 2010, while among the women, no-one seeded lower than 23 has finished as champion in the entire history of the Championships. Are the Grand Slams becoming increasingly repetitive, or is there still an element of surprise when it comes to lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish or the men’s silver gilt trophy. Can an underdog ever win Wimbledon again? The element of surprise Some matches at this year’s Championships had wonderful moments of surprise and kept us glued to the edge of our seats. We even saw the underdog triumph a few times. The shock result of the tournament was Dustin Brown’s defeat of Rafa Nadal – proof Wimbledon still retains its magical moments. Brown didn’t let himself be overawed by the occasion, and in fact thrived off the Centre Court atmosphere to upset the bookmakers and defeat Nadal in one of the contests of the tournament. However, even after his stunning performance, Brown was not expected to challenge the top seeds, and his progress was halted in the next round. Falling short at the last hurdle Over the years we’ve seen many underdogs coming close to remarkable victories. This year, the standout “near miss” from an underdog came in the clash between British hopeful Heather Watson, and world number one Serena Williams. Watson managed to take Serena to a third set, but just missed out on...