Great to see “Roy” back in the game he loves
AS THE 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup looms large, it has been great that one of the larger-than-life figures from the tournament's history is quietly re-connecting with the game.
Andrew Symonds, who produced that spectacular 143 not out against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa that kick-started Australia's title hopes, is going to be passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation next week.
"Roy" is co-coaching the Queensland U19 team at the national titles in Adelaide, but after catching up with him at the Brisbane Heat's BBL game against Adelaide earlier in the week, I can assure readers he is
genuinely excited to be falling back in love with the game.
He was a bit sour on cricket for a while after his career finished, and spent the time away from the game up at his home in North Queensland, enjoying time with his family and getting in some quality fishing.
But through playing with some of his old mates in the Bulls Masters, he is keen to get involved again, and the young blokes coming through will get a quality teacher. While the Heat squad has been on the road this week, there has been plenty of time to talk cricket and we have all had our two-bob's worth on the World Cup, and who the contenders and the pretenders are.
New Zealand is a popular choice (and not just due to Dan Vettori's gentle encouragement), due to some outstanding form in the past six months, and the fact the Black Caps have eight games at home.
South Africa is widely seen as a contender in spite of a string of dramas in World Cups past, while wildcard votes were lodged for Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
India's batting strength is key to its chances, but the bowling stocks are the weak link.
Australia should be favourite - and I would love to see Ryan Harris bob up in the final squad if he is right.
The Aussies play good, controlled one-day cricket and will know the conditions as well as anyone.
Finally, good luck to the Queensland Fire women's team, which is playing for finals spots this weekend against Victoria, and the Queensland Country
Brahmans who are in action in the Australian Country Championships in Bendigo, Victoria.