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  15 May 2022, 16:26

Andrew Symonds: Australian all-round great loved by teammates

SYDNEY, May 15, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Andrew Symonds, who died on Saturday night
in a car crash aged 46, was instantly recognisable on the cricket field with
a mop of dreadlocks poking out from his baggy green cap and lips gleaming
with white zinc cream.

A hulking presence at 6ft 2in (1.87m) with a grin as broad as his shoulders,
he was a supremely talented all-rounder equally at home bowling spin or
lively medium-pace.

Despite his size, Symonds was a lithe and athletic presence on the ground,
with safe bucket-like hands and a laser throw that saw him rated one of the
game's greatest fielders.

But he was at his most destructive with a bat in his hands.

Symonds -- nicknamed "Roy" -- played 26 Tests and 198 50-over games for
Australia in an international career spanning more than a decade, from 1998
until 2009.

A pivotal 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.

He passed three figures six times in the 50-over game and fifty on 30 more
occasions, with a top score of 156 against New Zealand in 2005.

In Tests, mostly batting at number six, he scored 1,462 runs at a healthy
average of 40.61, with two hundreds and 10 fifties.

Symonds was used only as an occasional bowler in the five-day game, taking
just 24 wickets.

His best innings of 162 not out came against India in the Sydney New Year
Test of 2008 -- but it was overshadowed by the "Monkeygate" scandal that
erupted later in that match.

Symonds accused spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a "monkey" during an
ill-tempered third day.

Singh, who denied any wrongdoing, was suspended for three matches, but the
ban was overturned when India threatened to quit the tour, sending India-
Australia cricket relations hit a low point.

- Coming of age -

Symonds was born in Birmingham, England, on June 9, 1975, with his parents
Ken and Barbara adopting him when he was 15 months old.

They moved to Australia soon after, settling down in the rural northern
Queensland town of Charters Towers.

Loved by teammates, he was dubbed "Leroy" by an academy coach in the early
1990s who thought he looked like Queensland basketball player Leroy Loggins.

It got shortened to "Roy" and he was affectionately known by the sobriquet
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.

It was against the same opponents in the opening match of the 2003 World Cup
that Symonds came of age.

A surprise selection at the behest of Ricky Ponting, Symonds rewarded his
captain's faith with his first international century.

The match-winning 143 was made in Johannesburg against an attack boasting
all-time greats Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi.
It cemented Symonds' place in the side.

Symonds liked life's simple pleasure and away from the field was never
happier than with a beer or a fishing rod in hand, though he had problems
with alcohol on more than one occasion.

In 2005, he arrived for an ODI against Bangladesh in England still drunk from
the night before.

In June 2009, Symonds was sent home from the World Twenty20 in England due to
"an alcohol-related incident" and he was stripped of his Cricket Australia
contract.

After stints in the Indian Premier League with Deccan Chargers and Mumbai
Indians, 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 leaves a wife, Laura, and two young children, Chloe and Billy.

 

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