Andrew Symonds was born on June 9, 1975, in Birmingham, England, but later settled in Queensland, Australia. He rejected the opportunity to play for England and decided to play for Australia in 1995. Symonds played 198 ODIs, 26 test matches, and 14 T20 matches between 1998 and 2009. He was known as ‘Roy’ by his teammates during the World Cup winning squad at South Africa and West Indies in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Symonds made his debut in international cricket against Pakistan in 1998. He didn’t achieve full batting and bowling form until 2003, when he won the World Cup in South Africa. During the World Cup, he scored 143 runs against the mighty Pakistanis, who were led by Waqar Younis, the world top cricket player that year. Symonds brilliancy continued, which helped his team win the following World Cup in the West Indies in 2007. He ultimately retired in 2009. Andrew Symonds’ achievements over ten years in the international cricket arena enthralled cricket fans worldwide with his superb batting. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to see him playing during my years growing up.
Symonds domestic cricket journey started with the Queensland State Team from 1998 to 2002. During this period, he scored an impressive 5,000 runs and more than 100 wickets. He showcased the same batting and bowling skills during his tenure for Kent and Lancashire for a brief period of time in England. He was also part of the Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League from 2008–2011 where he showed his all-rounder skills and led the Deccan Chargers to win their first IPL tittle in 2009. Symonds played different formats of the game, which earned him admiration, love, and respect from fans all around the world.
Symonds exhibited an excellent World Cup form in 2003, when he scored 326 runs in five matches with an average of 163. During this tournament, he knocked 143 runs against Pakistan and 91 against Sri Lanka in the semi-finals. Symonds’ commitment, dedication, and hard work during these two World Cups allowed him to reach great heights and became one of the most respected cricketers of all time.
Symonds made his test debut against Sri Lanka in 2004. Unfortunately, he had a horrible test series experience when he faced the bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan, who was at his peak form. Luckily, he found his batting form against South Africa, which visited Australia in 2005 and 2006. Symonds reached one of his most important achievements when he scored his first ever test century against England at MCG in Melbourne, Australia, during the Ashes Series of 2006–2007. From this point onwards, his career skyrocketed, entertaining global cricket followers like myself over the years. I still wish I could have met him in person when the entire Australian team visited Delhi for a one-day international match against India in 2009.
Symonds was the target of racist chants during his playing days. It all started when Australians visited India for the seven one-day international series in 2007. During that series, the Indian crowd in Baroda, Nagpur, and Mumbai started to call him ‘monkey.’ Things blew out of proportion when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh called Symonds ‘monkey’ as well, which offended the Australian team and crowds.
In 2008, Andrew Symonds’ career started to decline. He shoulder-punched a spectator who barged into the playing arena, offended opponent’s fans with nasty remarks during the CB Series finals against India, and missed a team meeting, which left him out of the one-day international series against Bangladesh. In 2009, he, again, made unprofessional comments against New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum for which he was almost suspended. He also narrowly avoided a lawsuit for this incident. Finally, during the ICC T20 World Cup in England, Symonds returned to Australia due to an alcohol-related altercation while watching a rugby match.
Apart from cricket, Symonds also played rugby for a short period of time. He represented the Brisbane Broncos team in Australia in 2002. Rugby helped him achieve a more balanced cricket form.
In addition to sports, Symonds made a guest appearance in the Bollywood movie Patiala House in 2011. He also participated on India’s reality TV Show Bigg Boss. He was also a guest commentator, during the Australian T20 Big Bash League in 2016–2019 were he exhibited his diverse talent.
Symonds married Brooke Marshall in 2004. The marriage lasted for only one year. In 2014, Symonds met Laura; he had two children named Billy and Chloe. Andrew Symonds passed away on Saturday May 14, 2022, in a car accident as he was driving on the Harvey Range Road near the Alicia River in Brisbane, Queensland. His family was devastated by his sudden departure.
In conclusion, Symonds was one of the finest cricketers I have seen in my lifetime. People will remember him by his larger-than-life personality and his amazing stroke-makers. Cricket was blessed by his contributions and will be sooon looking for its next hero.