Andrew Symonds, the former Australia all-rounder, has passed away following a car crash near the outskirts of the city of Townsville on Sunday. He was 46. Symonds, one of the greatest all-rounders to represent the country, played 26 Tests, 198 ODIs and 14 T20Is for Australia and was a two-time World Cup winner.
“Early information indicates, shortly after 11pm the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled,” a statement issued by the police read. Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries. The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.”
According to a report in NewsCorp, Symonds’ family issued a statement “confirming his passing, and appreciated peoples’ sympathy and best wishes, and asked that their privacy be respected”.
Symonds, lovingly known as ‘Roy’, made his Australia debut in 1998, during an ODI against Pakistan and it was in the 50-overs setup that the dynamic all-rounder would prove his mettle. In nearly 200 ODIs, Symonds scored over 5000 runs at an average of 39.75 while batting in the middle order, including six hundreds and 30 half-centuries and also took 133 wickets. A big-hitting batter, a witty bowler and a spotless fielder, Symonds was one of the top all-rounders of his era. While he was always full of promise, it was during the 2003 World Cup that Symonds really burst onto the scene, scoring a match-winning 143 against Pakistan. While Symonds’ Test career did not touch the highs of his ODI achievements, he scored 1462 runs with two centuries and 10 fifties.
Post retirement from cricket in February of 2012, Symonds ventured in sports commentary and broadcasting and became a renowned figure for Fox Sports. Legendary former Australia captain Allan Border paid tribute to Symonds, highlighting what made his different from the rest.
“He hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain. He was, in a way, a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer, former Test captain and Fox Sports,” colleague Allan Border told the Nine Network.
“He was an adventurer. Loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping. People liked his very laid-back style. He lived in Townsville. When I spoke to him, I think he still had a hundred head of cattle he used to muster. Symo away from the cameras and away from the spotlight, loved, I think, a bit of solitude and that is why he loved his fishing. Loved his own time.”
While Symonds was an asset on the field, he too had his fair share of controversies off it. During Australia’s 2005 tour of England, Symonds was dropped for two ODIs after he showed up for a match against Bangladesh under the influence of alcohol. Three years later in 2008, Symonds was sent back home from Australia’s ODI series against Bangladesh after he missed a team-meeting to go fishing. The following year in 2009, Symonds, due to disciplinary reasons, was once again asked to go home from the T20 World Cup in England, effectively ending his ODI career.
But that doesn’t undermine some Symonds’ finest achievements. He held the record for the joint-most sixes in a County Championship innings – 16 for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan in 1995. The record stood tall for 27 years before England’s Ben Stokes battered in earlier this month. Symonds made an impact in the IPL too, as only six days into the first season, representing the Deccan Chargers, he smashed 117 not out off 53 balls against Rajasthan Royals. Symonds was part of the IPL until 2011, playing 39 matches, scoring 974 runs and grabbing 20 wickets. His last representation for an IPL franchise was for the Mumbai Indians, where he played alongside India legends Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh.
Symonds is the third former Australia cricketer to have lost his life this year. In March, it were Rod Marsh’s passing at the age of 74 and Shane Warne’s shock death at 52 that had sent the Australian cricket fraternity in mourning.