Sydney: Former Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, one of the best all-rounders and two-time World Cup winner, has been killed in a tragic car accident, leaving the cricket world in shock.
He was 46 and leaves behind his wife and two young children.
Cricket Australia has now lost three prominent figures in the past two months. Spider legend Shane Warne and former wicketkeeper Rodney Marsh had died within hours of each other in March.
The accident took place on Hervey Range Road, about 50 km outside of Townsville in northeastern Australia, on Saturday night, according to a statement from Queensland Police.
“Police are investigating a single-vehicle accident in Hervey Range, about 30 miles from Townsville, that killed a 46-year-old man last night,” the statement said.
“Early information indicates that the car was traveling on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge, shortly after 11pm when it left the lane and rolled.
“Emergency services attempted to resuscitate the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, but he died of his injuries.”
Symonds, an offensive batter, who could bowl at medium pace as well as spin, and an outstanding outfield player, played in 26 Tests, 198 ODIs and 14 T20Is between 1998 and 2009 in a successful career.
He helped Australia win the ODI World Cups in 2003 and 2007 and was a key member of the Australian Test side in the 2000s.
“Australian cricket has lost another of its very best,” said Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson.
“Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia’s success at World Cups and as part of Queensland’s rich cricketing history.
“He was a cult figure to many who was cherished by his fans and friends. On behalf of Australian cricket, our deepest condolences go out to Andrew’s family, teammates and friends,” he added.
With the ball, he netted a total of 165 wickets in his international career, including 24 in Tests, 133 in ODIs and 8 in T20Is.
One of his greatest moments on the cricket pitch came when he fired 143 from 125 after batting with Australia at 86 for four against Pakistan in the opening ODI of the 2003 World Cup.
Symonds has scored 5088 runs, including six hundred, in his ODI career since he debuted in 1998. He also played in 14 T20Is and averaged 48.14, in addition to playing in the IPL for now-defunct Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the last phase of his career .
While playing for the Chargers, he had hit a 53-ball 117 not out against the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition.
He also hit 1462 runs with two hundreds and 10 fifties after being picked for the 2004 Tests against Sri Lanka.
He hit a sparkling 156 against England in the Boxing Day Test in 2006-07 before making a career-best 162 against India in Sydney in 2008.
However, the Sydney Test became the most controversial moment in his career due to the ‘Monkey Gate’ scandal involving Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Symonds, fondly known as ‘Roy’, also had his share of controversies.
He was fired from the two ODIs during the Australian England tour in 2005 after showing up drunk before a match against Bangladesh.
Three years later, Symonds missed a team meeting after going fishing in Darwin and was sent back home.
Another disciplinary issue saw him expelled from the Australian squad in England on the eve of the 2009 T20 World Cup, ending his career with Cricket Australia and canceling his contract shortly afterwards.
Aside from the troubles off the field, Symonds will be remembered for his on-field achievements, which also included a 34-ball hundred for Kent in 2004.
He also held the record for the most sixes in a County Championship innings when he hit 16 maximums for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan in 1995. It stood for 27 years before being broken last month by England’s Ben Stokes.
He retired from all forms of cricket in 2012 and became a fixture in the commentary field during the Australian home season and in the Big Bash League.
“On behalf of Queensland Cricket, we extend our deepest condolences to his family and will do everything we can to help them,” said Chris Simpson, Queensland Cricket President.
“It is a crushing loss to those closest to him, and his wide circle of friends that extend to all corners of the cricket world.
“His untimely passing will also resonate deeply with the many fans who raved about his bat, ball and field efforts. He stood out for his skill, courage and determination, and the fans who saw him at his best will be never forget the impact on a match.”
“We are all in pain and will miss him greatly. His former team-mates will remember his loyalty to the playgroup and will remember with great fondness and sadness the good times he was gone.”
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