When Grant Elliott was first included in New Zealand’s 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, many a question had been raised. The 36 year old all rounder, however, put all those questions to perpetual rest with a memorable and match-winning innings in the semi final against South Africa at Auckland. It’s largely due to Elliott’s gutsy knock under tremendous pressure, that New Zealand now find themselves in the final of a Cricket World Cup for the first time.
Grant Elliott – The South African!
The biggest irony that South Africa now have to contend with is that the man who literally pushed them out of the World Cup is actually a South African himself! Grant Elliott was born in Johannesburg to a South African plastic surgeon. However, the talented all rounder could not make much of an impression in his homeland, as a cricketer. Just a cursory spot in a South Africa A vs India A match was all that he could receive in South Africa. Undaunted by the hardships in his early career, Elliott made his way to New Zealand in 2001.
Way to glory
Even in New Zealand, Grant Elliott had to undergo many trials and tribulations before being finally selected for the national team in 2008. The Kiwis were set to tour England and Elliott was brought in place of injured Jacob Oram. Both his Test and ODI debuts came against England in that tour itself. But Elliott’s best moments under the sun came in the ICC Champions Trophy of 2009 when, in the semi final against Pakistan, he played a match winning knock of 75 to take the Kiwis through to the final.
Rewriting history in World Cup 2015
An almost 2 year-long hiatus from ODIs, since 2013, had not done Grant Elliott’s chances of selection in the World Cup squad any good. However, skipper Brendon McCullum was instrumental in giving him a controversial spot in the squad. The all rounder responded to the call of duty and his captain’s faith in him emphatically and came out as the most celebrated hero of New Zealand, by scripting an epic chase of 298 against South Africa. Analysts, former cricketers and fans from all across the world have been stunned by the enormity of pressure under which Elliott unfurled his best. To top it all, the six over long on off Dale Steyn – the memorable match winning shot – might just have elevated Grant Elliott’s position in the New Zealand cricket fraternity, to an all new level!