PERTH:As international debuts go, they don't come much more bizarre than Luke Pomersbach's for Australia in Tuesday's Twenty20 match against New Zealand here.
He arrived at the ground as just another spectator and an hour later was Australia's newest international.
Pomersbach skipped club training to watch Tuesday's game and was about to walk into the ground with a female friend when he got the call asking him to play.
Australian batsman Brad Hodge had hurt his back just an hour before the game in an equally bizarre turn of events.
The talented but wayward Pomersbach, who is one of the hardest hitters in Australian first-class cricket, hadn't even been playing for Western Australia in recent weeks because he was suspended for disciplinary reasons after a heavy night of drinking.
Speaking after Tuesday's game, Pomersbach had barely come to terms with his good fortune, which started with a call from Australian team manager Steve Bernard.
"I got into the car park and parked the car and got the phone call," he said.
"I thought it was one of my mates playing a joke on me and I nearly hung up and he said 'no, it's not a joke'.
"From that moment on I was shaking and I didn't know what to say on the phone.
"I walked up to the rooms and he said if Hodgey's back's not going to get any better, you are going to be on.
"I was just speechless. It is an unbelievable experience for me and just a dream come true."
Pomersbach didn't have his gear with him so his brother, Gavin, had to rush it to the ground.
Unfortunately for Gavin, the match was a sell-out and Pomersbach said his brother would be "spewing" he couldn't get in to watch.
The 23-year-old has played just seven first-class games and created an immediate impression with his powerful strokeplay.
He was rumoured to be in line for a Twenty20 promotion before his indiscretion.
Pomersbach dispatched the third ball he faced on Tuesday for a six over long-on on his way to making 15 from seven balls before being bowled by Mark Gillespie, and admitted he was very anxious in front of a packed home crowd.
"I was just so nervous," he said. "My hands were shaking on the bat."
Pomersbach said he was determined to turn around his career and put cricket first.
"I've made a couple of bad decisions and I just want to play cricket," he said.
"I am so glad I have had a little taste at this level and it is the best day of my life."
Michael Clarke, leading the Australian team in the absence of Ponting, explained Hodge's injury.
"He was trying to put his pants on and his back just went," he said.
Australia went on to thrash New Zealand by 54 runs at the WACA Ground.