..................but they surprised you. once again, I'll start the ball rolling.
Justin Langer: I guess having seen him bat beautifully in his first Test whilst getting bruised head-to-toe that I always thought he had the goods to be a gritty Boonie-type player. When he was dropped, I was outraged and when he came back trying to play a million shots and forgetting his defensive game, I was thinking "Why?". I honestly thought after the English Test series, we'd never see Justin again. However I've been proven wrong. He's finally managed to combine his great defensive technique with some shots and his scoring in the series' against NZ and SA was phenominal.
Matthew Hayden: Well we'd all seen his amazing run of sores at FC level and as much as he pounded by beloved South Australian Redbacks (among other teams), I just couldn't see myself rating him THAT highly. I mean he seemed to have the technique down (with possibly a deficiency in his back-foot play) but to me didn't have the mental toughness required. When Curtly had his measure in 1996, it only served to strengthen my position. Then he was picked in the Aussie one-day side after a particularly good season (even better than his usual high standards) and eventually took Blewwy's place in the Test side (a travesty I thought at the time). He had a few good scores against NZ and the WI but still, I didn't think he'd last.
Then INDIA came along and he batted away all of my concerns with a phenominal series. Don't know what it was but no-one could bowl to him. Amazing. Since then, he's gone on to belt every team around every park and with his increased confidence has come a tighter defensive technique, better back-foot play and eventually much bigger scores.
Chris Cairns: To be honest, to me he was a highly talented player with a great technique but injury prone and mentally soft. That held up until around 5 years ago and since then, he's become one of the most feared hitters in world cricket and a much improved bowler PLUS, the ability to play innings under pressure (ICC one-day tournament final in Nairobi and the 'Gabba last year). If he stays injury free, he'll be one of the greats.
Anymore you guys can think of or critique my choices.