Andrew Symonds: Much adored by Australian all-round teammates
Andrew Symonds, who died in a car accident on Saturday night at the age of 46, was instantly recognizable on the cricket field with dreadlocks protruding from his baggy green hat and lips gleaming with white zinc cream.
A hulking presence at 6 feet 2 inches (1.87 m) with a grin as wide as his shoulders, he was equally a supremely talented all-rounder in the home bowling spin or lively medium pace.
Despite his size, Symonds was a bright and athletic presence on the field with safe bucket-like hands and a laser throw, which earned him the status of one of the game’s greatest fielders.
But he was the most destructive with the bat in his hands.
Symonds – nicknamed “Roy” – played 26 Tests and 198 50-over games for Australia from 1998 to 2009, in an international career spanning more than a decade.
An important member of Australia’s 2003 and 2007 ODI World Cup winning sides, Symonds took 133 wickets and scored 5,088 runs at an average of 39.75 in that format.
With a top score of 156 against New Zealand in 2005, he crossed three points six times in 50-over games and fifty times on 30 more occasions.
In Tests, mostly batting at number six, he scored 1,462 runs at a healthy average of 40.61, including two centuries and 10 fifties.
Symonds was only used as an occasional bowler in the five-day game, taking 24 wickets.
His best innings of 162 not out came against India in the 2008 Sydney New Years Test – but it was affected by the “monkeygate” scandal that erupted later in that match.
Symonds accused spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’ during his misbehavior on the third day.
Singh, who denied any wrongdoing, was suspended for three matches, but the ban was lifted after India threatened to abandon the tour, leading to a deterioration in India-Australia cricket ties. Was.
Symonds was born on June 9, 1975, in Birmingham, England, when his parents Ken and Barbara adopted him when he was 15 months old.
They soon moved to Australia, settling in the rural North Queensland town of Charters Towers.
Loved by teammates, he was dubbed “Leroy” in the early 1990s by an academy coach who thought he looked like Queensland basketball player Leroy Loggins.
This was shortened to “Roy” and he was known affectionately for the rest of his life.
In 1995, he turned down a call-up from his country of birth to play for England A, and three years later made his One Day International debut for Australia against Pakistan.
Symonds came of age in the opening match of the 2003 World Cup against the same opponents.
A surprising selection at the behest of Ricky Ponting, Symonds rewarded his captain’s confidence with his maiden international century.
The match-winning 143 was made in Johannesburg against the onslaught of all-time greats Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi. This confirmed Symonds’ place.
Symonds loved the simple joys of life and off the field he was never more than happy with a beer or a fishing rod, although he had a problem with alcohol on more than one occasion.
In 2005, he arrived in England for an ODI against Bangladesh, having been drunk the night before.
In June 2009, Symonds was sent home from the World Twenty20 in England due to an “alcohol-related incident” and was stripped of his Cricket Australia contract.
After working with Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, Symonds retired in 2011 to become a familiar voice in the commentary box.
He also played in the English County Championship for Gloucestershire, Kent and Surrey.
Symonds is survived by wife Laura and two young children, Chloe and Billy.