Former Australian captain Michael Clarke acknowledged that cricket has undergone a forgettable few months, having lost a handful of greats. He referred to Andrew Symonds' sudden demise and recounted his time with the late cricketer on and off the field.
Two months after losing Shane Warne and Rod Marsh, the cricketing fraternity mourned Andrew Symonds' death. The 46-year old crashed his car on Saturday night near Townsville and was declared dead after emergency services tried to revive him.
Clarke, one of Symonds' long-time teammates, admitted that the last few months have left him devastated. The World Cup-winning captain revealed that even though they were polar opposites, they bonded well.
He told Big Sports Breakfast:
"I don’t know what’s going on in cricket at the moment, it’s just devastating. Been a horrible few months. These are the times you grab your family, your friends and cherish every day, I guess. We were so opposite in so many ways."
"The laughing joke in our team was complete city boy me, complete country boy him, yet we built an amazing connection. We did things I thought I’d never experience and wasn’t comfortable doing, but with him he made me feel comfortable."
Clarke and Symonds were notably part of Australia's 2007 World Cup win in the West Indies. However, their friendship suffered when Symonds reportedly poured a drink over the then vice-captain during the 2008 tour of the West Indies in front of Brian Lara. Reportedly, Clarke, as stand-in captain, also suspended the all-rounder for missing a training session to go fishing.
"Very fortunate to have spent so much time with him on and off the field" - Michael Clarke
The New South Wales player recalled when he went fishing with Symonds and felt so comfortable, which he otherwise wouldn't. The 41-year old referred to the Queensland all-rounder as the most athletic cricketer he played with, adding:
"Talk about out of your comfort zone. We were fishing for barra on these banks where there were crocs everywhere and, again, no way would I ever do that on my own, but with him he just made you feel so comfortable. Very fortunate to have spent so much time with him on and off the field, to have played with him. Probably the most athletic cricketer I played with, absolute freak of an athlete."
Symonds made his international debut in 1998 and delivered several impactful performances across formats. However, a lack of discipline meant his career for Australia came to a premature end, playing his last game in 2009.