Former cricket tester Andrew Symonds dies in car crash

Former Australian Test cricketer Andrew Symonds has died after a single-vehicle car crash near Townsville, north-east Australia. He was 46 years old.

Cricket Australia reported Symonds’ death on its website on Sunday, citing a police statement containing details of the accident late Saturday night.

He described Symonds as “a cult hero at the peak of his international playing career and one of the most talented all-around players Australian cricket has seen”.

“The Queenslander was a larger than life figure who attracted a large fan base during his peak years, not only for his hard-hitting manner but also for his larrikin persona.”

Symonds played 26 Test matches for Australia and posted two centuries, but was best known as a limited overs specialist. He played 198 one-day internationals for Australia and won two World Cups.

After retiring as a player, Symonds became a popular commentator for cricket broadcasters.

Queensland Police said the accident happened in Hervey Range, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Townsville.

“Initial information indicates that shortly after 11 p.m. the car was traveling on Hervey Range Road near Alice River Bridge when it left the carriageway and rolled over,” a police statement said. “Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant. However, he died of his injuries.

Symonds’ family appealed for confidentiality.

Former Australia captain Allan Border was among those paying tribute to Symonds on Sunday.

Border said Symonds “hit the ball a long distance and just wanted to entertain.

“He was, in a way, a bit of an old-school cricketer,” Border told the Nine Network. “He was an adventurer, he loved fishing, he loved hiking, camping, people loved his very laid back style.”

This style brought Symonds into conflict with authority late in his career. In 2008, he missed Australia’s one-day series against Bangladesh after going fishing while attending a team meeting. He was also disciplined ahead of the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup for breaking team rules regarding alcohol.

With dreadlocks and his face smeared with zinc cream, Symonds has always been a flamboyant figure in the Australian team.

His loss is another blow to Australian cricket following the death in Thailand in March of legendary leg beater Shane Warne. Wicketkeeper Rod Marsh also died in March aged 74.

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