For many Australians, a Gabba player’s brutal shoulder strike remains a lasting memory of Andrew Symonds’ career.
India was about to win a one-day triangular series in Australia, needing seven wickets in the Gabba to lift the trophy.
The Aussies were in trouble, with short-form powerhouses Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke back in the cheap sheds.
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Andrew Symonds dropped out into the middle, joining Queensland teammate Matthew Hayden in the ninth game – Australia still needed 227 more runs for an unlikely win.
But a few minutes later, Indian sailor Sreesanth’s fifth over was stopped by a runner who had run onto Gabba’s lawn.
The naked field raider, later revealed to be Brisbane resident Robert Ogilvie, ran straight into Symonds at the end of the non-striker.
Symonds took matters into his own hands, dropping his shoulder to the spokesman who slumped helplessly to the deck.
“I didn’t even notice him, to be honest,” Ogilvie later told Channel 9. A current case.
“I was more concerned about people chasing me, and the next thing I knew it was on my face.”
It was a moment that cemented Symonds’ place in Australian cricket folklore – footage of the incident has garnered millions of views on YouTube and social media platforms.
“It was a bit of a dark night here in Brisbane,” he told Fox Cricket in 2018.
“We were playing India in a final and that night Australia was tough and there were some overweight Queensland cops who couldn’t catch that man like they probably should have.
“So I took matters into my own hands for a brief moment and he couldn’t move.”
For many Australians, that shoulder load remains a lasting memory of Symonds’ career, which featured two World Cup triumphs and an Ashes lime.
“I still get asked about my belly in 2008 all the time,” Symonds told News Corp last year.
“It’s one of those that keep coming up and people love to talk. It’s something I’m known for now, people say, ‘That’s the guy who dropped the ray.’
“Field invaders may think running across the field is funny, but ultimately it’s just a lack of respect for athletes.”
The rays incident, which took place less than two months after the “Monkeygate” saga, served as a reflection of his playful character and larrikin demeanor.
Despite all the off-pitch scandals that marked cricket’s 2007/08 summer, Symonds still managed to bring a smile to the faces of his Indian rivals, who were greeting and laughing as Ogilvie was escorted off the pitch.
Symonds was universally appreciated, and the outpouring of sadness from across the cricket world today is proof of that.
Symonds was involved in a car accident Saturday night outside Townsville. He was the only person traveling in the car, but his two dogs survived.
In a statement, Queensland Police said the accident occurred at Hervey Range when Symonds’ vehicle veered off the road and overturned. Paramedics tried to save him, but failed.
He is survived by wife Laura and children Chloe and Billy.
Symonds was a devastating hitter who could shoot at medium pace or off-spin depending on the game situation.
He was a key member of Australia’s ODI teams that won the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, playing 198 times in the 50-over format, scoring 5,088 runs and taking 133 wickets.
Originally Published as ‘Absolute Gold’: Streaker Beats Enduring Memory of Andrew Symonds’ Cricket Career