Former Australian cricket tester Andrew Symonds (Photo: Twitter/ICC)
THIS IS THE second major tragedy to strike the cricketing world in just over two months. Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds (Roy or Symo to his teammates and loved ones) died in a car crash on May 14 in Hervey Range, Queensland, 71 days after fellow Down Under legend Shane Warne returned his last breath.
The 6.2-foot-tall hard-hitting hitter, Andrew Symonds was also a useful off-spinner and medium pacer with an electrifying presence on the pitch.
With two One Day International World Cup winners’ medals on his chest and a host of records in his sometimes controversial, sometimes upside-down career, his place in the pantheon of cricket’s most entertaining characters was already assured. before retiring from the game in 2012.
A man’s loss is a man’s gain is an old cliché. In Symonds’ case, it was rugby versus cricket.
Two decades ago Symonds, then 27, was struggling with his cricket form and considered taking up rugby, a sport he not only had a keen interest in but was also good at. This talent would be for cricket fans to see when he knocked down a streaker in the Commonwealth Series second round final against India at the famous Brisbane cricket ground as GABA. It was a tackle mostly seen on the rugby pitch and on WWE broadcasts staged for the public.
Although his Test career was not too long, lasting around four years, he represented Australia in the ODIs for over 11 years, the highlights being the 2003 World Cup wins and 2007.
Love for teams from the subcontinent
His best was invariably reserved for teams from the subcontinent – India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Just before the 2003 ODI World Cup in South Africa, Shane Warne’s expulsion from the Australian squad over the diuretic scandal seemed to have taken the breath of the reigning champions’ campaign. Days later in Johannesburg, the Pakistani rhythm trio of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar made life difficult for them with the scoreboard showing 86/4 in the 16th and only Ricky Ponting as the recognized hitter at the crease.
Andrew Symonds arrived and what followed was a brutal display of power strikes and counterattacks. First with his skipper Ponting, then in the company of the lower order, Symonds poked fun at the famous and feared Pakistani bowling team.
At the end of the innings, Symonds was still standing with 143 of 125 balls against his name and the team at 310. The goal was too Pakistan
The rest, as they say, is history. A few weeks later, Australia won their third ODI World Cup, easily dismissing the Indian challenge.
Symonds 151 against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2006 is also one of his best moments on the pitch. This allowed Australia to come back in the three game final and lift the trophy by also winning the third game.
Two years later, Sydney was again the arena where the muscleman was at his best and this time it was the Indian team facing fire in a Test match. Even though the match was marred by huge controversy involving Symonds and Indian officer Harbhajan Singh, his unbeaten 162 set the stage for a famous win for his side.
He has received praise not only from ordinary cricket fans for his onfield skills, but also from greats like Ricky Ponting and South African Jonty Rhodes.
His acrobatic feats, whether in the 30-yard circle or deep in the boundary, would make opposing hitters think multiple times before challenging his strong, precise arm. And if the ball was in the air with Symonds lurking around, then it was definitely curtains for the unlucky hitter.
He was at the center of a row during Australia’s 2007 tour of India following allegations that crowds in Vadodara, Nagpur and Mumbai booed him with monkey chants (due to his Afro-American parentage). West Indian), a charge brought by the Board of Control For Cricket. in India (BCCI) initially refused.
But things took a turn for the worse on the Indian tour of Australia when the hosts were within the Sydney Test ropes in January 2008, Symonds completed their second Test century. His superlative 162 which saved Australia from a precarious situation was quickly overshadowed by what became known as ‘Monkeygate’.
Harbhajan Singh was accused of racially abusing Symonds by calling him a monkey and banned for three matches. But the BCCI threatened to recall the team, Harbhajan’s ban was appealed and eventually the International Cricket Council (ICC) ruled there was no racial abuse. Instead, Harbhajan was found guilty of using abusive language and lost 50% of his match fee.
However, there was a feeling in Australia that Symonds was cast as a villain and the country’s cricket board did not come out in favor of him.
Symonds has been kicked out of Australia’s squad on several occasions due to disciplinary issues, including against Bangladesh in Darwin in 2008, New Zealand the same year following a pub brawl followed by the fiasco of the 2009 T20I World Cup.
He eventually lost his central contract in 2009 and called it up in 2012 after failing to break into the Australian side for three years.
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