Tragedy strikes Australian cricket yet again when their champion cricketer of decade before last, died in car accident at the age of 46 years. Andrew Symonds was a cult figure for all good reasons. He was typical gutsy Aussie cricketer who did everything on the ground expected of him and some more in the name of gamesmanship.
He was genuine all rounder, primarily an attacking batsman who could bowl gentle medium pacers and occasional off spinners when situation demanded. He was very hefty and huge that gave an impression that he can be less agile. On the contrary he was very athletic, panther like and had a throw like a bullet. He has many unbelievable catches and run outs to his credit. He was complete package for his team. Naturally he had a great record in limited overs cricket. In test matches it was average though.
Andrew was a part of world cup winning team in 2003 and 2007. He always gave right balance to the team in these events. The game against Pakistan in 2003 will itch in our memory for Andrew’s fighting and swashbuckling innings. It was counterattack against the likes of Wasim Akram when kangaroos were 4/83.
With his masterly run a ball 143 he announced his arrival. It was followed by match winning 93 against Sri Lanka in semi finals of that world cup. Interestingly his average in that cup was staggering 163. He is only player in the history of cricket to have average above 100 from all world cups. His form outside world cup was equally high class. Symond’s strength was his attacking batting, hitting rasping drives and pulling ferociously.
However his off the field activities started attracting the headlines. His drinking became intolerable for administration. Andrew himself admitted once that he is not alcoholic but a binge drinker. Skipper Ponting and Michael Clarke were his sympathizers and so were ACB. But he became big nuiscence for team management as he kept on staying away from team meetings and took up fight with team mates. The end result was Andrew being sent back home after being selected for T20 world cup team in 2009.
He did not change much after this punishment. ACB did not give him another chance as new all rounders like Shane Watson were getting off the age. Finally, with heavy heart Symonds took the retirement call. A career which promised so much ended prematuredly. However his contribution to ODI cricket was well recognized when he was selected in Australia’s Best ODI team and world ODI team of the year earlier.
A small mention must be made of his confrontation with Harbhajan singh in that infamous Sydney test called as Monkey Gate. Bhajji came out unscathed thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s testimonial but I have no doubt what so ever about Indian off spinner calling Andrew monkey. That was clearly racial abuse This was the game where Symonds scored 163 after surviving a straight forward caught behind appeal early on. He got reprieve because DRS was not available then. Or was it in second innings? I don’t remember. Later Andrew and Bhajji buried the hatchet and became friends when they played IPL together with MI.
It is still not clear how the accident took place and who was driving. We all only know the world has lost a very stylish, enormously gifted, attractive all rounder for ever. Sorry Andrew you deserved to play inning of life lot longer.
Article by: Dr Arun Swadi