Sports News

Andrew Symonds, 46, dies in car crash: Australia mourns loss of another champion cricketer

 

  • World champion player loses control of his car
  • A friendly adversary of Sri Lanka’s cricket too
  • Two months after tragic demises of Warne and Marsh
  • Desperate bid to revive Symonds after crash
  • International cricket fraternity shocked

In another tragic blow to Australian cricket, Andrew Symonds died in a car accident, aged 46, last Saturday (14) night in Townsville, a town in Queensland, Australia, international media reported yesterday (15).

That was just two months and 11 days after the iconic Australian cricketer and Symonds’ teammate Shane Warne had passed away – on 4 March 2022 – due to what was believed to be a severe heart attack whilst he was on holiday at a villa in the Samujana resort on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand.

Another Australian cricket legend Rodney Marsh too died on the same day, 4 March, “Warnie” died in Thailand. Legendary Australian wicketkeeper/batter during 1970-84, Marsh had been left in a critical condition on 24 February 2022, following a heart attack in Bundaberg, Queensland, whilst en route to a charity event hosted by Queensland Bulls Masters. He died eight days later, on 4 March, in Adelaide, South Australia, at the age of 74.

Car left the road and rolled

The popular former Australian all-rounder Symonds, who gained fame for his hefty build (he was 1.87 metres or 6 feet 1 inch tall); his long, gold locks; and his prominent “white lips” painted in white sun cream, was an outstanding cult figure on the cricket field during 1998 to 2009.

A Queensland police statement said that Symonds was in a single-car crash about 10.30 p.m. local time, Fox News reported. Symonds was driving on Hervey Range Road near the Alice River Bridge when his car left the road and rolled, police have said.

Paramedics fail as his dogs ‘wail’

Paramedics arrived at the scene but couldn’t revive the former Australian fan favourite, who had been the only person in the car. A couple arrived at the scene two minutes after the incident and called 000.

Symonds’ two blue heeler dogs remained by his side at the scene.

“One of them was very sensitive and didn’t want to leave him,” one Babetha Neliman had told The Courier-Mail. “It would just growl at you every time we tried to move him or go near him.”

Mates shocked

Former teammate Adam Gilchrist led the tributes for the man affectionately known as “Roy”. “Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy,” Gilchrist Tweeted. “This really hurts,” he added.

Michael Vaughan wrote: “Simmo .. This doesn’t feel real.”

“Horrendous news to wake up to,” Tweeted Jason Gillepsie. “Utterly devastated. We are all gonna miss you mate.”

‘Having a few too many beers at life’

Meanwhile, Australia great Mark Taylor paid tribute to Symonds on Channel 9 as the news broke. “I can’t quite believe it. Another tragic day for cricket. Bad things do happen in threes,” he said.

Taylor added: “He was just an entertainer. In an era where professionalism really is a throw-away word that we use probably too often. Symo was the older sort of guy.

“He wanted to go out there and have fun and play the game as he remembered to play it as a kid. At times, he got in trouble for not going to training or maybe having a few too many beers in life, but that is the way he lived his life and the way he wanted to play his cricket also.”

Two World Cups

Symonds played 26 Tests for Australia, and was an integral part of Australia’s white-ball sides that dominated the world between 1999 and 2007.

He won One-Day International (ODI) World Cups in 2003 and 2007, with the former tournament including a stunning, breakout 143 (not out) against Pakistan that set-up the rest of his career.

‘Generational talent’

Cricket Australia (CA) Chair Lachlan Henderson said in a statement that Symonds was a “generational talent” and an “instrumental” part in Australia’s World Cup success.

“He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends,” he said.

“On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew’s family, teammates, and friends.”

Devastatingly sad times

CA Chief Nick Hockley added: “He was a prodigious talent from an early age in Queensland with his clean ball-striking ability, shrewd spin bowling, and brilliant fielding.

“He will be sadly missed by the Australian cricket community and particularly his very close friends at the Queensland Bulls where he was a popular and much-admired teammate and friend.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this devastatingly sad time.”

Fine Test batter too

Symonds was a force in limited-overs cricket, scoring 5,088 runs at 39.75 and taking 133 wickets at 37.25, while he was one of the game’s finest fielders.

He was once pigeonholed as a white-ball player, but eventually broke into Australia’s Test team in 2004, going on to average 40.61 with the bat and score two centuries.

Keen fisherman

Symonds’ last post on Instagram came after the death of Warne, when he wrote: “Devastated, I’m hoping this is all a bad dream. I just can’t get my head around never seeing you again.”

He was famously a keen fisherman – he once missed a compulsory team meeting in 2008 to go fishing – and would often be found out on a boat when not commentating for Fox Cricket.

Symonds is survived by wife Laura and young children, Chloe and Billy.

“We are still in shock – I’m just thinking of the two kids,” Laura told The Courier-Mail. “He was such a big person and there is just so much of him in his kids.”