The Australian one-day specialist Andrew Symonds has admitted he thought about giving up cricket for a shot at rugby league for the high-flying Brisbane Broncos shortly before his somewhat surprising selection for the 2003 World Cup-winning squad. Symonds made the revelations in an interview with Australia's Inside Cricket magazine.
Symonds, 29, was a talented rugby league player when he was younger, and contacted the Broncos' coach Wayne Bennett towards the end of 2002. "I just poured it all out to him," he told the magazine. "I told him how I was feeling, that my confidence had taken a battering and that more and more I wasn't being fulfilled by cricket any more and that now I was thinking of trying something else - footy.
"Wayne didn't bat an eyelid: he said, 'Are you sure? It's a serious step.' I told him I was deadly serious. 'Then I'll help and support you if I can.' Obviously his biggest issues were my ball skills and ability to withstand tackling, but he was definitely interested. He could see the passion ... what I wanted more than anything [then]: to achieve that pinnacle of Queensland sport and run out onto Lang Park wearing that maroon jumper."
But Symonds, who had scored only two half-centuries in 49 ODIs before the 2002-03 VB Series, stuck with cricket instead - and made it to the World Cup a few months later in South Africa. In their first game against Pakistan - a game he probably would not have played if the banned Darren Lehmann or the injured Michael Bevan had been available - he rescued Australia with a career-defining undefeated 143, and has since been an automatic choice for the one-day side.