ANI Photo | A look at Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds’ legendary career on his first death anniversary

On this day last year, the cricketing world lost one of its most entertaining characters and fearless all-rounders after Australia’s Andrew Symonds passed away at the age of 46 in a car accident at Queensland.
This was the third tragic blow to Australian cricket that year, following the tragic deaths of Shane Warne and Rod Marsh in March.
Ever since he debuted on the international scene in 1998, fans and the cricketing fraternity knew he was a special talent, as shown by his abilities to clear the ropes effortlessly, take crucial wickets with his bowling and put on a show of athleticism with his fielding and spectacular catches.
Symonds was a white-ball specialist. In 198 ODI matches, he scored 5,088 runs at an average of 39.75 and a strike rate of 92.44. He had six centuries and 30 half-centuries in ODIs, with the best individual score of 156. He also had 133 wickets in ODIs, with the best figures of 5/18.
Though he got to play only a few T20Is, his batting proved to be extremely crucial in establishing T20Is as an entertaining format. In 14 matches and 11 innings, he scored 337 runs at an average of 48.14 and a strike rate of 169.34, with two half-centuries. His best score was 85*. Symonds had eight wickets in this format.
But his white-ball skills did not take away from the fact that he could also construct innings well and perform brilliantly in white clothing. In 26 Tests, he scored 1,462 runs at an average of 40.61 and a strike rate of 64.80. He scored two centuries and 10 half-centuries in the format, with the best score of 162*. Symonds also had 24 wickets in this format, with the best figures of 3/50.
Though he did not get many chances to feature in the Test format and his debut in the format came six years later after his international debut, these statistics give us a picture of a Test career that could have been, had his international career not come to a close due to disciplinary and alcohol-related issues.
In all, his 6,887 runs in 238 international matches at an average of 40.27, strike rate of 86.53, eight tons and 42 half-centuries and a total of 165 wickets place him in the elite company of all-rounders who ruled cricket from the 1990s to 2000s, like Jacques Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Daniel Vettori, Shaun Pollock etc.
Symonds held on to 107 catches across his career, with 82 of them coming in ODIs. In the outfield, Symonds’ fearless willingness to throw himself in a Superman-style dive in pursuit of a ball approaching the boundary proved not only a new means of run-saving in the game but a trailblazing technique that has since been adopted all over the world.
Symonds was always in the discussion of the best all-round fielder world cricket has ever seen, along with modern marvels Ricky Ponting, Herschelle Gibbs, Jonty Rhodes and Paul Collingwood.
Rhodes, the South African whippet many consider to be the greatest fielder of all time, is in no doubt that Symonds was a better fielder than he ever was.
Symonds, according to the Proteas star, was a true all-around fieldsman. “Where he’s better than me is that he’s a true all-round fieldsman,” Rhodes said in 2006 as per cricket.com.au.
Adding further Rhodes said “For a big guy, he moves well close to the wicket, getting down to the ground, diving, cutting off balls if he’s in the ring. He’s quick and can cut off boundaries. But the extra dimension is his strength. From the middle of the innings, he can be out on the fence saving twos because he has such a strong arm.”
Symonds was a key part of Australian sides that clinched the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 and 2007.
The 2003 World Cup truly established Symonds as the man for big stages. He made his World Cup debut with a stunning 143* against Pakistan in a winning effort. His 91* against Sri Lanka in the semifinal guided Australia to 212/7, which they could defend successfully. Symonds was named as ‘Man of the Match’ for his efforts.
He ended up as the ninth-highest run-scorer in the tournament, with 326 runs in five innings at an average of 163.00 and a strike rate of 90.56. He also scored a century and two fifties in the tournament. He also took two wickets in the tournament.
His performances in the 2007 World Cup were crucial in Australia’s triumph, with the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath playing their last 50-over WC. His performances helped the Australian side give a perfect tribute to three of its most decorated seniors.
He scored 189 runs in eight innings at an average of 63.00 with a half-century. He also took three wickets in the tournament.
In the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, Symonds scored 107 runs in four innings at an average of 35.67 and a strike rate of over 150. With his explosive cameos, he pretty much set the tone for what T20s would offer to fans in future, short but impactful performances. These performances made him ahead of his time, as far as the shorter format is concerned. Australia bowed out of the tournament after a semifinal finish.
Symonds also graced the Indian Premier League (IPL) with his presence, representing now-defunct Deccan Chargers from 2008-10 and Mumbai Indians in 2011.
Symonds was an integral part of the Deccan squad which bounced back from last place finish in 2008 to win the IPL in 2009. He scored 249 runs in eight matches at an average of 35.57 and a strike rate of 150.00, with one half-century, a knock of 60*. He also took seven wickets for his side. In the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he scored 33 and took 2/18.
In his IPL career, Symonds scored 974 runs in 36 innings and 39 matches at an average of 36.07 and a strike rate of 129.87. He also scored a century and a fifty, with the best score of 117*. He also took 20 wickets with the best bowling figures of 3/21.
With these figures and statistics, it is evident that it is unlikely that the sport witnesses a match-winning, complete-package superstar like Symonds anytime soon. (ANI)

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