Remembering Andrew Symonds: Tributes pour in, ‘Monkeygate’ protagonists Tendulkar, Harbhajan grieve

Former all-rounder Andrew Symonds, part of the all-conquering Australia side that won the ICC Cricket World Cup under Ricky Ponting in 2003 and 2007, was killed in a car crash, Cricket Australia announced. The former cricketer was involved in a single-car accident outside Townsville in Queensland on Saturday night. Emergency services failed in its attempts Symonds, the sole occupant of the car, which left the road and rolled.

“We are shocked and saddened by the loss of the loveable Queenslander, who has tragically passed away at the age of 46,” Cricket Australia tweeted.

Between 1998 and 2009, the 46-year-old played 198 One-Day Internationals for the Baggie Greens, scoring six centuries and 30 half-centuries and taking 133 wickets. In 26 Tests, Symonds averaged 40.61.

Symonds’ death comes as another tragic blow for the country’s cricketing community, already reeling from the recent deaths of Shane Warne and Rod Marsh.

Legendary former Australian skipper Allan Border was among the first to pay tribute to Symonds. Symonds “hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain”, Border said, adding: “He was, in a way, a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer.”

Speaking to Nine Network, the Aussie great said: “He was an adventurer, loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping. People liked his very laid-back style.”

Tributes also poured in from him teammates on social media with Adam Gilchrist expressing his dismay at the passing of one of his best friends from the cricket field. Prolific all-rounder Michael Bevan, whose injury allowed Symonds to get into the Aussie team to get into 2003 ICC World Cup-winning Australia side, also paid tribute.

India great Sachin Tendulkar, who was involved in the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ scandal during the Test series in 2008, also paid tribute. “Andrew Symond’s demise is shocking news for all of us to absorb. Not only was he a brilliant all-rounder, but also a live-wire on the field. I have fond memories of the time we spent together in Mumbai Indians. May his soul rest in peace, condolences to his family & friends,” the batting legend tweeted.

Another protagonist of that controversy, Harbhajan Singh, tweeted: “Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds. Gone too soon. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. Prayers for the departed soul…”

Both Harbhajan and Sachin would later go on to team up with Symonds for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

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