Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has died in a car crash in Queensland at the age of 46. Symonds’ untimely demise is another major setback for Australian cricket after greats Shane Warne and Rod Marsh passed away in March this year.
According to a report on cricket.com.au, Symonds was involved in a single-vehicle accident late on Saturday, 14 May. Queensland Police are investigating the crash that took place about 50 kms from Townsville. The police statement read:
"Early information indicates shortly after 11pm the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge when it left the roadway and rolled. Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant, however, he died of his injuries."
Symonds played 26 Tests and 198 ODIs in a career spanning from 1998 to 2009. He scored 1462 runs in Tests at an average of 40.61 and also claimed 24 wickets with a mix of off-spin and medium pace. In one-dayers, he smashed 5088 runs at an average of 39.75 and took 133 wickets.
Symonds was part of Australia's 2003 and 2007 World Cup-winning squads. In Tests, his unbeaten 162 not out against India in the 2008 Sydney Test was overshadowed by the 'Monkeygate' affair. The Aussie accused former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’, and the issue snowballed into one of the biggest controversies in cricket.
Releasing an official statement, Cricket Australia chair Lachlan Henderson said:
"Australian cricket has lost another of its very best. Andrew was a generational talent who was instrumental in Australia's success at World Cups and as part of Queensland's rich cricket history. He was a cult figure to many who was treasured by his fans and friends. On behalf of Australian cricket our deepest sympathies are with Andrew's family, team-mates, and friends."
The former cricketer is survived by wife Laura and children Chloe and Billy.
Australian cricket fraternity reacts to Symonds’ death
Reacting to the shocking news, former Australian keeper-batter Adam Gilchrist wrote on Twitter:
“Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy. 💔😞.”
Former Australian pacer Damien Fleming also took to the social media site and wrote:
“This is so devastating. Roy was So much fun to be around. Our Thoughts are with Symonds family #RIPRoy.”
Another former Aussie pacer, Jason Gillespie, tweeted:
"Horrendous news to wake up to. Utterly devastated. We're all gonna miss you mate."
Former Australia captain Mark Taylor told Channel Nine:
"Unfortunately I've been here too often this year under these circumstances. I actually can't quite believe it, to be honest. Another tragic day for cricket."
After retiring from the game, Symonds took up the mic and worked as a TV commentator for Fox Sports.