How Pakistan put Andrew Symonds in the limelight OCN NEWS

The death of Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds in a car crash has left the cricketing world in shock.

The 46-year-old, who took part in 26 Tests, 198 ODIs and 14 T20Is for Australia from 1998 to 2009, was involved in a single-car accident outside Townsville, in the state of Queensland, Saturday evening.

Symonds, nicknamed Roy, played several game-winning shots for Australia during his career but it was his century against Pakistan at the 2003 ICC World Cup that put him in the spotlight. Despite being out of form, Symonds repaid the confidence of captain Ricky Ponting, who inducted him into the roster amid criticism over the all-rounder’s selection, marking his first international century.

Pakistan had Australia on the ropes, 86/4, with help from the pace attack led by the legendary Wasim Akram outside a packed Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. However, Pakistan’s plan to restrict Australia to a low total in the opening innings was thwarted by a belligerent blow from Symonds. The hard-hitting attacked the Pakistani bowlers and ended up scoring 143 runs on 125 balls. Pakistan’s bowling arsenal, which included Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi, were hit for 18 fours and two sixes in Symonds’ onslaught. At one point, the Pakistani bowlers were so helpless that Captain Waqar had to turn to batter Younis Khan for six overs.

Symonds’ shot helped Australia recover and post an impressive 310/8 against the Men in Green. The goal proved too big for Pakistan as they were tied for 228 in 44.3 overs. For his magnificent innings, Symonds was declared Player of the Match.

The innings against Pakistan put Symonds’ career on the right track as he became a permanent feature of Australia’s ODI roster until the end of his career in 2009.

The timing of the right-hander’s shot against Pakistan was also crucial as he had scored just 69 runs in his previous seven innings.

After the Pakistani ton, Symonds became more consistent with the bat and was the fourth top scorer for Australia between 2003 and 2009. He also hit the most sixes (91) for Australia during that time.

Figure 1* Before After
matches 54 144
Races 762 4326
Upper 68* 156
Medium 23.81 45.06
Strike rate 96.21 91.80
100 0 6
50 2 28
Counters 44 89
Economy 4.92 5.04

Figure 1*

Before: Figures before the 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan (ODI between 10 November 1998 and 10 February 2003).

After: figures after the 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan (ODI between February 11, 2003 and May 3, 2009)

Along with being a blazing hitter, Symonds was also a practical bowler who could roll his arm mid-innings and provide crucial breakthroughs.

Symonds was also a gun defender who didn’t mind playing in key areas of the court, which made him an asset even when he wasn’t batting or bowling.

Symonds also played a key role in Australia’s back-to-back ICC World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007. He had an astonishing 163 batting average in the 2003 World Cup while scoring 326 runs in five innings. Meanwhile, in the 2007 World Cup, he scored 189 runs at a strike rate of 98.43, which proved crucial in building momentum in the innings late in the game.

Interestingly, Symonds’ first and last ODI game was against Pakistan as well. Meanwhile, the last match of his career in Australian colors was also a T20I game against Pakistan in Dubai.

As for his overall numbers, Symonds took 133 wickets and scored 5,088 runs at an average of 39.75 in ODI cricket. He scored six tons in the 50-plus game and hit fifty on another 30 occasions, with a high of 156 against New Zealand in 2005.

In tests, usually batted out at number six, he recorded 1,462 carries at an impressive average of 40.61, with the help of two centuries and 10 fifty. He also added 24 wickets to his tally in the five-day match.

It is unfortunate that a series of alcohol-related indiscretions led to the withdrawal of his contract with Cricket Australia in June 2009, after he was sacked from the T20 World Cup in England.

Despite being a cult figure in modern cricket, Symonds will be remembered as one of the best all-around players of all time.