Sydney, Feb 5 (UNI) Underlining the importance of Andrew Symonds in the Australian scheme of things, former captain Ian Chappell fears that losing the injured all-rounder could negate the edge the world beaters have over the other teams when they aim for title hat-trick at the World Cup beginning in the Caribbean next month.
Symonds' World Cup dream lies in tatters after he sustained a bicep injury in the ongoing VB Series. The all-rounder underwent a surgery yesterday and might take four to 10 weeks to recover fully.
''He could almost be the worst player you could lose if he is lost for the World Cup,'' Chappell said on Melbourne's 3AW radio yesterday.
''It brings Australia right back to the field,'' he said.
Symonds possible replacement, Brad Hodge who made match-winning 86-ball 99 against New Zealand yesterday, is good but not good enough to step into Symonds shoes, Chappell felt.
''I think it's the fear factor he puts into the opposition. Not to decry Brad Hodge's batting, but you are not going to fear Brad Hodge the way you fear Andrew Symonds because Symonds can clear the boundary on a regular basis,'' he said.
''He is going to create some run-outs for you. He'll take a blinding catch and he has been very, very tidy with the ball now for a long time. He gives you flexibility there.'' Australia's 15-man World Cup squad must be named by February 13.
There was a suggestion yesterday Symonds could be named in the hope he makes a quicker-than-expected recovery and is available late in the tournament.