Former champion Andrew Symonds died in a car accident, Cricket Australia said on Sunday, in another tragic blow to the sport following the recent deaths of greats 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, Queensland, on Saturday night.
Police said emergency services tried to revive the driver and the only occupant, but he died from his injuries after the car veered off the road and overturned.
“Australian cricket has lost another of its best,” Cricket Australia president 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 history of cricket.
“He was a cult figure by many who were esteemed by his fans and friends,” he added.
Symonds’ fatal accident comes just months after the deaths of Australian greats Warne and Marsh, who died unexpectedly of heart attacks.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been here too often this year under 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 larger than life Symonds was immensely popular, not just for his hard-hitting approach to the game, but also for his laid-back personality.
He was widely considered to be one of the most skilled players Australian cricket has ever seen, bowling both off-spin and at mid-pace, while playing many match-winning hands with his explosive mid-order batting.
Symonds was also a top outfield player and was a key part of Australia’s 50 consecutive World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007.
Domestically, he played for Queensland for 17 seasons, while appearing for Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire and Surrey in the English County Premier League and for the Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
– Totally devastated’ –
“Horrible news to wake up to,” tweeted former Australian teammate Jason Gillespie. “Totally devastated. We’re all going to miss you, mate.”
Adam Gilchrist, another former teammate who most recently commented alongside Symonds on Fox Sports, wrote: “This really hurts”, while Pakistani player 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 parents of Afro-Caribbean descent, will also be remembered for the infamous “monkey gate” 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 matches. The ban was lifted when India threatened to pull out of the tour at a low point for India-Australia cricket relations.
The Australian player later revealed that he came at a high price.
“From that moment on, that was my downhill slide,” he recalled in 2018. “I started drinking a lot as a result of that and my life was starting to dissolve around me.”
His contract with Cricket Australia was canceled in June 2009 after he was sent home from World Twenty20 in England following the latest in a string of alcohol-related indiscretions.
Despite the animosity, Symonds and Harbhajan eventually made amends and played together in the Indian Premier League, with the Australian forging a successful career as a respected television commentator after retiring.
(This story was not edited by the NDTV team and is automatically generated from a distributed feed.)