When John Davison took the World Cup and Canada by surprise
Remember John Davison? Unless you are a huge cricket fanatic, it is unlikely that the name will ring an instant bell. The Australian-born Canadian cricketer played grade cricket in Melbourne but a regular place in Victoria's main team was denied. It was at this time that Davison got an offer to be a player-cum-coach for Canada in the off season.
When Windies elected to field in the 24th match of the 2003 World Cup game at Centurion, little did they anticipate to be treated like club bowlers on a Monday morning school game. Davison blasted off against the West Indies attack, mesmerising the 10,000-plus crowd that had gathered to watch a Windies mauling.
The blistering 76-ball 111, the fastest World Cup century at that time, came with little to no support from the other end. The next highest score from a Canadian batsman was 19. Davison dominated the partnerships he was involved in. 96 runs for the first wicket came with his partner, Ishwar Maraj, who made just 16. 59 runs for the second wicket with Desmond Chumney came with the other contributing just 19 runs.
When he fell, the Canadian score was 156. The opener had blitzed eight fours and six sixes. He was dropped on 50 and 78 and survived chopping a ball onto the stumps as the bails weren't dislodged. It was just Davison's day at Centurion but sadly for him, with no support from the other end, Canada made just 202 and lost by seven wickets.
The 67-ball century was the fastest in World Cups at the time and had the cricketing world shocked as this was a proper bashing from a batsman in a minnow side. Sadly, the Windies showed no respect in reply and knocked off the runs in just 20.3 overs, scoring at a rate of 10 an over.
Davison, though, went on to become a Canadian cricketing legend. He was appointed their captain a year later and in 2015, in their first first-class match for in 50-odd years, he took a record-breaking 17 for 137, the best haul in a game since Jim Laker in 1956. Davison played the next two World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and retired at the end of the 2011 campaign.
His legend, though, remains well-etched in the annals of cricket.
Happy Birthday, John Davison, the man who put Canada on the cricket World Cup map.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar