Australian cricket misplaced certainly one of its most lovely and proficient stars when Andrew Symonds died in a automotive accident on Saturday night time, robbing the sport and the nation of a person who was a lightning rod for the spectacular and the controversial throughout his 26-Check profession.
From the second he debuted on the world stage in 1995, the hard-hitting all-rounder stamped himself because the type of cricketer you possibly can by no means take your eyes off. At any second he may hit a monster six, take a pivotal wicket – or, in a single well-known incident, deck a streaker with a shoulder cost a footy participant could be happy with.
As followers mourn his tragic passing, one picture that’s positive to crop up time and time once more is the dreadlocked star leaping into teammate Matthew Hayden’s arms after scoring his first Check century through the 2006 Ashes Boxing Day match on the MCG.
The innings that stopped a nation: Symonds celebrates along with his mate Matthew Hayden as he scores his first Check century in a knock that saved the 2006 Boxing Day match for Australia
The all-rounder had been below stress to maintain his spot within the facet coming in to the Check and responded in sometimes aggressive style, smashing a six down the bottom to deliver up his ton
Symonds was below stress to maintain his place within the facet after getting out cheaply in his earlier Check, and the Aussies had been in dire straits as he strode to the crease with the rating at 5/84.
What adopted was probably his best second within the saggy inexperienced as smashed the English assault and introduced up his first Check hundred in typical type, hammering a six straight again over the bowler’s head earlier than elevating his arms in triumph and celebrating wildly along with his nice mate Hayden.
His knock of 156 was an enormous turning level and Australia smashed the previous enemy to the tune of an innings and 96 runs.
Symonds wasn’t an instantaneous hit when he first made the nation’s one-day staff in 1998, struggling to nail down a spot in an extremely proficient facet – however that each one modified on the 2003 World Cup.
Australia was struggling within the facet’s first recreation of the event, down 4 wickets for simply 86 runs towards Pakistan, and in determined want of a saviour.
Symonds was simply that, turning the sport and his profession round with an unbeaten knock of 143 from simply 125 balls as Australia received that match and each recreation after it to be topped world champions.
‘Roy’ – seen right here with Michael Clarke after Australia received the 2007 World Cup – was instrumental within the facet’s 2003 triumph within the event, smashing a stellar 143 to dig the facet out of an enormous gap towards Pakistan
The event remodeled Symonds from a bit participant for Australia right into a mainstay of the staff.
From 2007 to 2008 he smashed 777 runs in simply 9 Exams, recording his highest profession rating of 162 in a sensational innings towards India on the SCG.
However that conflict additionally featured one of the vital controversial episodes of Symonds’ time on the pitch.
The Aussie accused Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’ through the Check, which noticed the Indian spinner hit with a racial vilification cost.
In what grew to become generally known as ‘Monkeygate’, the Indian staff threatened to give up the tour altogether when Singh was suspended for 3 matches, earlier than the ban was overturned by the Worldwide Cricket Council.
Symonds was furious with the dealing with of the incident and accused Cricket Australia of failing to again its gamers. He additionally mentioned Singh had referred to as him a monkey on a number of events earlier than the match on the SCG and broke down in tears as he apologised to him for the slur – which the Indian star angrily denied.
The ‘Monkeygate’ scandal of 2008 – when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh (pictured) used a racial slur towards Symonds – was a hammer blow to the late legend, who was livid with Cricket Australia for not backing him
The scandal left an enormous mark on Symonds, who revealed in 2018 that it noticed him flip to alcohol as a manner of coping.
‘I began to drink closely on account of it and my life was beginning to dissolve round me. I felt responsible that I’d dragged my mates into one thing I didn’t assume they deserved to be concerned in,’ he mentioned.
The all-rounder generated international headlines of a unique kind when he decked a streaker with a shoulder cost throughout a one-dayer in Brisbane in March 2008.
Symonds as soon as thought-about a swap to rugby league and proved he wouldn’t be misplaced within the sport by smashing the pitch invader into subsequent week.
‘It was frustration greater than something,’ he informed Each day Mail Australia earlier this month.
‘I wasn’t making an attempt to harm him, but it surely was a closing and a decent a part of the sport. I’d simply run Matty Hayden out and we’d simply began getting again on observe, however we had been nonetheless below the pump.
‘He was an Aussie and he ran out and I’m considering, “Mate, are you watching the sport? You didn’t should run out now; you possibly can have saved it for later or achieved it after they had been batting.”‘
hit a streaker for six: Symonds made headlines all over the world when he shoulder charged a streaker into subsequent week throughout a one-dayer in Brisbane in 2008
Earlier this month, in certainly one of his closing interviews, Symonds informed Each day Mail Australia he wasn’t making an attempt to harm the pitch invader – however he undoubtedly didn’t miss him, both
Later that 12 months Symonds failed to show up for a staff assembly as a result of he determined to go fishing as a substitute. It led to a falling out with former mate Michael Clarke, which the pair by no means patched up.
He felt Clarke had betrayed him and to make issues worse, the pair had already had a nasty run-in throughout a tour of the West Indies.
‘I threw a drink on him. He didn’t inform me to go to mattress, he mentioned one thing else however I threw a drink on him and what he mentioned to me put me right into a rage,’ Symonds mentioned.
‘Our friendship was destroyed in that second.
‘He’d mentioned to me, not in these phrases, however he’d steered I used to be a egocentric participant and a egocentric individual. The one factor I don’t take into account myself to be is that and that actually irritated me.’
The pair traded barbs after they had been each completed with their on-field careers.
Michael Clarke (left) and Symonds each made their Check debuts in 2004 and have become mates – however that each one got here to an finish when the big-hitting star determined to go fishing as a substitute of rocking as much as a staff assembly in 2008
When Each day Mail Australia columunist Mike Colman requested Symonds how he felt the Channel 9 cricket protection would go for the 2016 season he replied, ‘Effectively they’ve simply employed Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen – the 2 most unpopular folks in world cricket – so not too good I’d say.’
Former Check captain Mark Taylor summed Symonds up nicely shortly after studying of his dying, saying: ‘He wished to go on the market and have enjoyable and play the sport he remembered to play it as a child. At instances he obtained in hassle for not going to coaching or perhaps having a number of too many beers however that’s the manner he lived his life and the best way he wished to play his cricket additionally.’
Positive, that love of a beer obtained him into hassle at instances – most notably when skipper Ricky Ponting blew up as a result of Symonds got here to coaching badly below the climate in 2005… and informed coach John Buchanan he’d performed in an analogous state earlier than.
However what number of cricketers would’ve had the expertise to play in that state with out being pulled up instantly as a result of they crashed and burned on the pitch? Most likely only a handful, and Roy was undoubtedly amongst them.