Australian cricket star Andrew Symonds dies in car crash

Australian cricket star Andrew Symonds dies in car crash

Andrew Symonds, larger than life, was very popular (Archive)

Melbourne:

Fearless former all-rounder Andrew Symonds has died in a car crash, Cricket Australia said on Sunday, in another tragic blow to the sport after the recent deaths of teammates 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 car accident outside Townsville, in Queensland state, on Saturday night.

Police said emergency services attempted to revive the driver and sole occupant, but he died of his injuries after the car skidded off the road and flipped over.

“Australian cricket has lost another of its best,” Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson said in a statement.

“Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia’s success at the World Cups and as part of Queensland’s rich cricket history.

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

Symonds’ fatal accident comes just months after the deaths of Australian greats Warne and Marsh, who both died unexpectedly of heart attacks.

“Unfortunately I’ve been here far too often this year in these circumstances. I actually can’t believe it, to be honest,” former Australia captain Mark Taylor told Channel Nine. “Another tragic day for cricket”.

The hulking Symonds was hugely popular, not only for his forceful approach to the game, but also for his calm personality.

He was widely regarded as one of the most skilled players Australian cricket has seen, bowling both out of spin and mid-range, while playing many winning hands with his explosive middle-order batting.

Symonds was also a top-flight fielder and was a key part of Australia’s 50+ consecutive World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007.

Domestically, he played for Queensland for 17 seasons, while appearing for Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire and Surrey in the English County Championship and for the Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

– Completely devastated’ –

“Horrible news to wake up to,” tweeted former Australian teammate Jason Gillespie. “Totally devastated. We’re all going to miss you buddy.”

Adam Gilchrist, another former teammate who recently commented alongside Symonds on Fox Sports, wrote: “This really hurts,” while Pakistani fast pitcher Shoaib Akhtar said he was “devastated.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “Simmo… this doesn’t feel real #RIP.”

Symonds, who was born in England to a father of Afro-Caribbean descent, will also be remembered for the infamous “Monkeygate” scandal that sent him into a downward spiral.

He accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey” at the 2008 Sydney New Year’s Test.

Singh, who denied any wrongdoing, was suspended for three games. The ban was overturned when India threatened to abandon the tour at a low point for India-Australia cricket relations.

The Australian player later revealed that it came at a high cost.

“From that point on, that was my descent,” he recalled in 2018. “I started drinking a lot as a result and my life started to dissolve around me.”

His contract with Cricket Australia was withdrawn 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 reconciled and played together in the Indian Premier League, with the Australian forging a successful career as a respected television commentator after retiring.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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