Reckless former all-rounder Andrew Symonds has been killed in a car accident, Cricket Australia said on Sunday, in another tragic blow to the sport following the recent deaths of fellow greats Shane Warne and Rod Marsh.
The 46-year-old, who played 26 Tests and 198 one-day internationals for Australia from 1998 to 2009, was involved in a single-vehicle accident outside Townsville in the state of Queensland on Saturday night.
Police said emergency services attempted to resuscitate the driver and sole occupant, but he died of his injuries after the car ran off the road and rolled.
“Australian cricket has lost another of its very best,” Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson said in a statement.
“Andrew was a generational talent who played a key role in Australia’s success at World Cups and as part of Queensland’s rich cricketing history.
“He was a cult figure for many who was cherished by his fans and friends,” he added.
Symonds’ fatal crash comes just months after the deaths of fellow Australian greats Warne and Marsh, who both died unexpectedly from heart attacks.
“Unfortunately I’ve been here too many times this year under these circumstances. I can’t quite believe it, to be honest,” former Australian captain Mark Taylor told Channel Nine. “Another tragic day for cricket.”
The larger-than-life Symonds was extremely popular not only for his tough approach to the game, but also for his easygoing personality.
He was widely regarded as one of the most skilled all-rounders Australian cricket has ever seen. He bowls both off-spin and at medium tempo, playing many match-winning hands with his explosive mid-range batting.
Symonds was also a top-level outfield player, playing a key role in Australia’s back-to-back 50-over World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007.
Domestically, he played for Queensland for 17 seasons, playing for Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire and Surrey in the English County Championship and for Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
– Completely broken’ –
“Terrible news to wake up to,” tweeted former Australian teammate Jason Gillespie. ‘Completely broken. We’re all going to miss you mate.’
Adam Gilchrist, another former teammate who recently commented with Symonds at Fox Sports, wrote: “This really hurts”, while Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he was “devastated”.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan said: “Simmo…this doesn’t really feel #RIP.”
Symonds, who was born in England to a parent of Afro-Caribbean descent, will also be remembered for the infamous “monkeygate” scandal that sent him into a tailspin.
He accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey” in the 2008 Sydney New Year’s Test.
Singh, who denied any allegation, was banned for three games. The ban was lifted when India threatened to stop the tour at an all-time low for India-Australia cricket relations.
The Australian player later revealed it took a heavy toll.
“From that point on, that was my descent,” he recalls in 2018. “I started drinking heavily because of that and my life started to dissolve around me.”
His contract with Cricket Australia was revoked in June 2009 after he was sent home from the World Twenty20 in England following the latest in a series of alcohol-related indiscretions.
Despite the animosity, Symonds and Harbhajan eventually made it up and played in the Indian Premier League together, with the Australian building a successful career as a respected television commentator after retiring.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)