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Remembering Andrew Symonds: Hero of Australia’s 2003 WC triumph and T20’s Early Pioneer

Former Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds dies in car accident aged 46 in Northern Queensland

Former Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds dies in car accident aged 46 in Northern Queensland | Walking Wicket (Images ©Getty)
Andrew Symonds dies in car accident aged 46 in Northern Queensland (Images ©Getty)

For the third time in nearly three months, Australian cricket has received another tragic blow as former all-rounder Andrew Symonds, aged 46, has died in a car accident, about 50 kilometers away from Townsville, where he lived after retirement, on the night of May 14.

In an official statement, Queensland Police said that the car, shortly after 11 pm, was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled as Symonds, who was driving the car and was the sole occupant, died due to severe injuries.

“Australian cricket has lost another of its very best,” Cricket Australia chair Lachlan Henderson said in a statement.

“Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia’s success at World Cups and as part of Queensland’s rich cricket history.”

“He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends. On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew’s family, team-mates and friends.”

Andrew Symonds: Every man’s cricketer

Andrew Symonds played 26 Tests for his country but was probably more renowned for his explosive batting in white ball cricket.

In 198 One Day Internationals, ‘Roy’, as he was universally known as, notched up six centuries combined with 30 half-centuries, while contributing with 133 wickets with his medium pace and off-break bowling. He played a vital role for Australia, in clinching the 2003 and 2007 ICC ODI World Cups.

Besides that, he was part of 14 T20Is, managing 337 runs and eight wickets in his successful career that spanned between 1998 to 2009, after which he showed his skills in franchise cricket too.

Symonds occupied the same place in Australian cricket dreams as Shane Warne and Rod Marsh had; still he wasn’t famous like the other two characters. There was hardly a job on the cricket field that Symonds couldn’t do - in a game, pretty much, all the bases were covered by the England born all-rounder. With bat or with ball, he was a survivor for Australia besides displaying his timeless athleticism on the field.

Symonds’s epochal unbeaten 143 against Pakistan in the 2003 WC rescued Australia

Symonds wasn’t a front-runner to be part of Australia’s squad for the ICC World Cup 2003. Till then he had a mediocre batting average of just around 23. But Australia’s then skipper Ricky Ponting backed him and Symonds got his name in the squad in the wake of the absence of Michael Bevan, Darren Lehmann’s suspension and the ban that Shane Warne received.

Australia had no clue facing the Pakistan duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis as they were pushed to 86/4 in 15.5 overs in their first game of the tournament. Symonds first stitched up a 60-run stand with Ricky Ponting who in his own rhythm piled up a half-century. After the latter’s dismissal, Symonds took charge and clubbed away some clean and powerful strokes to celebrate his century in 92 balls with 15 boundaries.

Ponting had placed his faith in having the all-rounder in the World Cup squad and Symonds destroyed all the doubts that others had. Later in the innings, he showed his art of playing with the tail in the same manner to take Australia to 310 thanks to his 143* and helped the side in beginning the campaign with a win over Pakistan by 82 runs.