Two-time World Cup winner and one of the most recognizable faces in international cricket, Andrew Symonds, has been killed in a single car crash outside Townsville off the northeast coast of Queensland in Australia on Saturday night, police say.
Police have confirmed that a 46-year-old man died at the scene.
“Preliminary information indicates that shortly after 11pm (Australian time) the vehicle was driving on Harvey Range Road near Alice River Bridge when it veered off the road and rolled over,” the police statement said.
“Emergency services tried to resuscitate the 46-year-old driver and the only passenger. However, he died of his injuries. The forensic crash unit is investigating.”
Symonds averaged 40.61 at bat in 26 Tests for his country, but was perhaps best known for his work in white ball cricket.
He has played in 198 ODIs – six centuries and 30 half-centuries – as well as contributing 133 wickets with his easy off-spin and gentle medium pace.
It was at the 2003 World Cup where Symonds came on stage with perhaps his best innings, as he defeated Pakistan by an unbeaten 143 in Johannesburg early in the event and helped Australia stay unbeaten and beat India in a one-sided final.
The stocky right-hander was part of the winning World Cup squad at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies as Australia claimed their fourth 50-over World Cup title.
Symonds has played 14 Twenty20s for Australia, scoring 337 runs and taking eight wickets.
He is the second famous Australian cricketer to die tragically in 2022 after champion leg-spinner Shane Warne died of a heart attack in Thailand in March.
Former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh also died of a heart attack earlier this year.
Cricket Australia’s chair, Lachlan Henderson, was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying, “Australian cricket has lost another of its best. A religious figure who was valued by his fans and friends.
“Our deepest condolences to Andrew’s family, teammates and friends on behalf of Australian cricket.”
In 26 Tests for Australia, Symonds has scored 1,462 runs at 40.61 and taken 24 wickets.
He scored a superb unbeaten 162 against India in the 2008 Sydney Test, which helped the hosts to a 122-run victory. However, the match ended in controversy over the ‘Monkeygate scandal’.
All-rounder accused India spinner Harbhajan Singh of being a “monkey”, sparking verbal clashes between the two teams and threatening to cancel the India tour after initially suspending Harbhajan for three matches.
But white ball cricket was Symonds’ strength. Affectionately called ‘Roy’, the hard-hitter played 5,088 runs in 198 ODIs and took 133 wickets.
According to Cricket.com.au, Symonds was born in Birmingham but moved to Australia with his adoptive parents. He became an integral part of Australia’s World Cup winning campaign in 2003 and 2007, both with bat and ball.
Wasim Akram led Pakistan to 143 runs in the opening match of the 2003 edition in Johannesburg against Australia where Symonds announced his arrival on the international stage.
The right-handed batsman’s match-winning knock came in with just 125 deliveries and was adorned with 18 fours and two tops.
In the last four against Sri Lanka, Symonds came at a time when Australia were fighting at 3/53. The champion all-rounder scored an unbeaten 91 to help the defending champions manage 212/7 in the end, which turned out to be the winning total in the rain-interrupted match.
During the 2007 World Cup, Australia cruised through a pool game, easily beating Sri Lanka in a decisive match in Barbados. He finished his twin World Cup campaign with an average of 103 and a strike rate of 93.29.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said of Symonds, “I think it’s a scary thing that he puts in opponents because he can clear the boundaries on a regular basis.”
Chappell said, “He’s going to make some run outs for you. He’ll take a blind catch and he’s been very tidy with the ball for a long time.”
Queensland cricket chair Chris Simpson says the cricket community has been devastated by Symonds’ death.
“On behalf of Queensland Cricket, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and will do everything we can to help them,” he said on the website. “It is a devastating loss to his close circle and the wide circle of his friends that spread to all corners of the cricket world.
“His untimely departure will resonate deeply with many fans who thrilled his efforts at bat, ball and on the field. He stood up for his skill, courage and determination and the fans who saw him at his best will never forget him. The impact on a game.”
“We are all suffering and will miss him very much. His former teammates will remember his loyalty to the playing group and remember the fun times very fondly, and he is sad to leave.
“He loved Queensland and its outdoor lifestyle and valued and respected the opportunities he had as a young man growing up in North Queensland that enabled him to represent his state and country.”
In recent years, Symonds has commented on the Big Bash League.