Andrew Symonds dead, death, Cricket Australia news 2022, obituary, tribute, career, statistics

For the third time in nearly three months, the cricketing world has been turned upside down.

Non-cricket fans knew who Shane Warne was. He was bigger than the sport itself.

For cricket fans, Andrew Symonds was something different. It was cut from a different fabric. A return to a time before sports science.

He was every man’s cricketer. Salt of the earth.

REPORT: Australian cricket legend Andrew Symonds dies in car crash, aged 46

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LIFE IN PICTURES: Symonds’ remarkable career revisited after his tragic death

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In the modern world where “high performance” is an obsession, “Roy” just wanted to play the game. And he was damn good at it.

There was a time when the Aussies thought Symonds shouldn’t be close to the ODI team.

Chosen ahead of Steve Waugh for the 2003 World Cup, Symonds played the rounds of his life against Pakistan to prove to himself that he belonged.

It wasn’t long before he became the best ODI cricketer in the world.

An IPL’s dream, Symonds was the best mid-order batsman in the world, could do seams and adjustments, and was arguably the best outfielder in the world.

Symonds revolutionized the way ODI cricket was played.

When he wasn’t playing, he wasn’t obsessed with it.

Forget meetings, when Symonds wasn’t playing he wanted to clean up the joint and go fishing.

This is what finally ended his international career.

Symonds was big on loyalty.

That’s what made him a cricketer.

Remembering Roy’s First Test Ton | 03:44

If Ricky Ponting hadn’t backed him through thick and thin in 2003, he might never have made it.

Shortly after, as Symonds pondered his place in the Testing arena, Shane Warne made the dreadlocked all-rounder look in the mirror.

Warne said Symonds had to ask himself some tough questions.

“He was just a generous man,” Symonds told Fox Cricket in March, as he paid tribute to Warne after his tragic death.

“I remember, I had been in and out of the side for a while. He came to me one day and he was like, ‘Roy, you know you can do that, huh?’ And I said, ‘Man, it’s an intimidating place the Australian dressing shed and I had my doubts.

“He said, ‘Roy, if you don’t ask, you don’t get anything. It’s time for you to start asking questions and don’t be afraid.

“I regularly tell people that.”

The weekend news of Symonds’ passing hits hard.

At 46, he left far too soon.

Dreadlocks remain etched in the mind, white zinc too.

Symonds was a larrikin.

When he crushed Jehan Mubarak to the ground and cut off Michael Clarke’s leg and ended up in the hands of Tillakaratne Dilshan, all ‘Roy’ could do was laugh.

“Thanks to the beer,” he signaled to Clarke, as he left Docklands after a 66-61, including four over the ropes.

Capsized boat? No worries for Roy, who, along with Matthew Hayden, swam to shore in shark-infested waters.

Not great for the boat, but good for a thread.

Symonds and the streaker who got away | 01:00

Sometimes you couldn’t reach Symonds on the phone.

It wasn’t until February that he sent a message: “Mate, I’ve been at sea for two days. Can you call me back tomorrow buddy and we’ll do it.

It was who Symonds was.

When he wasn’t fishing, he was hunting.

But on the cricket pitch, Symonds’ mind was moving like clockwork.

A master of storylines, he helped Australia win back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007.

He averaged 163 at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and four years later averaged 63 in the Caribbean.

Symonds was also stepping into the coaching world.

He was due to help Warne in The Hundred this year before his shocking death.

Also before Covid started, Justin Langer asked Symonds to join Australia’s T20 teams as well.

That’s what it meant to him.

“Justin Langer is the man who reached out to me,” Symonds said

“Because he had Ponting, (Mike) Hussey and Steve Waugh went to the Ashes, they were just trying to get players who had played different types of cricket and had long periods of success in and around the group and a new face.

“I was really excited to go and honored.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe you asked me to go.’

“I certainly didn’t expect that looking at the players who have done it.”

Helen L. Cuellar