But there are some sportsmen whose presence can send a surge of self-confidence coursing through a side and for England, Jason Roy acts as a one-man adrenaline shot.
It is not just what this special breed do but what they spur others on to do and his return brought a welcome reversion to the optimism and positivity which has characterised their world view for much of the past four years.
It was as if the stuttering defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia, suffered in the swaggering opener’s absence with a hamstring pull, belonged to another side.
In a sense they did. Roy is just one player amongst 11 but the one that completes the England picture.
From the moment Roy, pressed into service in what captain Eoin Morgan acknowledged was a calculated risk, caressed two boundaries in the opening over England were off and running and they never looked back.
The towering total they posted set India what would have been a World Cup record chase. It was ultimately too many and the England show was back on the road.
England have it all to do on Wednesday against New Zealand on another D-day in Durham but with their very own Roy of the Rovers restored, the force is with them again.
“It was good to be back out there. Obviously spending time on the bench isn’t great,” said Roy.
“The good thing was we got off to a good start. We just wanted to keep batting and keep being positive from there.
“The injury wasn’t an issue. Running between the wickets I kept it at about 80 per cent which is about what the doctors’ said.”
It was 22 days since Roy’s last innings for England but he is such a natural timer of a ball that it would as if he had never been away and he supplied the lead from the gun they so badly needed.
Roy gives off such a commanding air at the crease that it is contagious and yesterday it was Jonny Bairstow who caught the bug.
A century opening stand was just what England needed to settle the nerves after the jitters of recent matches and a sedative for the Indian support at a vibrant Edgbaston.
It felt like England were the away team with the blanket of blue and orange and the ‘High Five Your Team’ totaliser for fans of both sides supported that sense with India dominating.
The Bharat Army was out in force.
Roy had a stroke of luck on 21 when India failed to review a brush of the glove to the wicket keeper off Hardik Pandya down the leg side.
But when he eventually departed to a brilliant low catch by India’s substitute fielder Ravindra Jadeja at long on for 66 off 57 balls he had helped lay a superb platform.
With such a victory target, it needed Virat Kohli to go the distance and the exit of the god-like Indian captain to a catch by James Vince at backward point put them too far behind the eight ball.
Vince was on for Roy who was unable to field because of a blow to the forearm suffered when he was batting.
Heaven forbid that England were pulling a fast one to avoid exposing Roy to the risk of aggravating his hamstring damage but you can understand the mothballing operation.
Vince has been a lead weight at the top of the order in Roy’s absence with 40 runs at an average of 13.3 and strike rate of 78.4.
Roy’s truncated World Cup has brought 281 runs at an average of 70.25 and a strike rate of 118.
The simple fact is he is irreplaceable if England are to win this World Cup.