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.”
Symonds played 26 Tests for Australia, scoring 1462 runs at 40.61 and picking up 24 wickets with his handy off spin and medium pace bowling.
His brilliant 162 not out against India in the 2008 Sydney Test helped Australia to a 122-run victory, but the game would later be mired in controversy over the Monkeygate affair.
Symonds accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey”, triggering a war of words between the two teams and a threat by India to return home after Singh was initially suspended for three games.
But it was in the white-ball arena where the man they called ‘Roy’ really excelled. A crowd favourite in the short-form game, the big-hitting allrounder played 198 one-day internationals, clobbering 5088 runs and taking 133 wickets.
The Queenslander was also a brilliant fielder, renowned for pulling off a spectacular run out or outrageous catch just when his team needed it. Symonds was an integral part of Australia’s Word Cup-winning campaigns in 2003 and 2007, performing with bat, ball and in the field.
His 143 against a Wasim Akram-led Pakistan in Australia’s opening match of the 2003 tournament in Johannesburg announced his arrival to the cricket world. The dreadlocked right-hander’s match-winning knock came from just 125 deliveries and featured 18 fours and two sixes.
At the time it was the highest score by an Australian at a World Cup. In the semi-final against Sri Lanka, Symonds came to the crease with his side struggling at 3-53.
He scored an undefeated 91 to help the defending champions reach 7-212, which proved too much for the Sri Lankans in a rain-affected match. Ricky Ponting’s men were easy victors over India in the final.
Australia didn’t need too many heroics from Symonds in the 2007 World Cup, cruising through the pool games and easily defeating Sri Lanka in the decider in Barbados.
Symonds finished his twin World Cup campaigns with two winner’s’ medals, an average of 103, a strike rate of 93.29 and the adulation of fans around the world.
“I think it’s the fear factor he puts into the opposition because he can clear the boundary on a regular basis,” former Australian captain Ian Chappell said. “He is going to create some run outs for you. He’ll take a blinding catch and he has been very, very tidy with the ball now for a long time.”
In recent years Symonds had worked as a TV commentator for Fox Sports and was a regular on the microphone for Big Bash League broadcasts.