Former World Cup-winning all-rounder Andrew Symonds, 46, died in a car crash, Cricket Australia said on Sunday. The news comes in a year where Australian cricket is already mourning the recent deaths of fellow greats Shane Warne and Rod Marsh.
The 46-year-old, who was part of the dominant Australian One-Day International side that won the 2003 and 2007 men’s World Cup tournaments, was involved in a single-car accident outside Townsville in Queensland state on Saturday night, reported AFP.
Police said emergency services attempted to revive the driver (and sole occupant), but he died from his injuries after the car left the road and rolled.
“Early information indicates shortly after 11pm the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled,” as per the statement, published by cricket.com.au.
“Australian cricket has lost another of its very best,” Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson said. “Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia’s success at 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.”
Symonds’ fatal crash comes just months after the deaths of fellow Australian greats Warne and Marsh, who both died from heart attacks hours after one another.
Symonds played 26 Tests and 198 one-day internationals for Australia from 1998 to 2009. Domestically, he played for Queensland for 17 seasons, while appearing for Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire and Surrey in the English County Championship and for Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
Symonds career batting stats
Symonds career bowling stats
The larger-than-life Symonds was hugely popular, not only for his hard-hitting approach to the game but also for his easy-going personality. He was widely considered one of the most skilled all-rounders Australian cricket has seen, bowling both off-spin and medium pace, while playing many match-winning hands with his explosive middle-order batting.
Symonds was also a top-rate fielder, capable of producing match-winning moments with his catching as well as a knack to throw down the stumps.
Symonds, who was born in England with one parent of Afro-Caribbean descent, was also infamously part of the Monkeygat scandal that sent him into a downward spiral. He accused Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey” in Sydney’s 2008 New Year Test, something the Indian offspinner strongly denied.
“I started to drink heavily as a result of it and my life was starting to dissolve around me,” Symonds had said. His Cricket Australia contract was withdrawn in June 2009 after he was sent home from the World Twenty20 following the latest in a series of alcohol-related indiscretions.
Despite the animosity, Symonds and Harbhajan eventually made up and played together in the IPL.
Symonds also worked as a pundit for Australian television in recent times, appearing on commentary stints in events like the Big Bash League.
His former teammates and the cricket community expressed shock at the events of Sunday:
With AFP inputs