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Australian cricket legend Andrew Symonds dies in car accident aged 46, players mourn ‘devastating’ loss




New Delhi: Former Australian test cricketer Andrew Symonds (46) died late Saturday night near Townsville in northeastern Australia after a single-vehicle accident. Cricket Australia confirmed Symonds’ death on Sunday, citing a police statement detailing the accident. Symonds was described as “a cult hero at the height of his international playing career and one of the most accomplished all-rounders Australian cricket has seen”.

“The Queenslander was a larger-than-life figure who attracted a wide fan base during his peak years, not only for his hard-nosed manners, but also for his larrikin persona,” said Cricket Australia.

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Symonds played 26 friendlies for Australia and racked up two centuries, but he was better known as a specialist in limited overs. He played 198 one-day international 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 the Hervey Range, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Townsville.

“Initial information indicates that the car was traveling on Hervey Range Road, near Alice River Bridge, shortly after 11 p.m. when it swerved off the roadway and rolled over,” said a police statement, quoted by the Associated Press. It further stated that emergency services attempted to resuscitate the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant. However, he died of his injuries.

Initially, authorities did not name Symonds, but he was widely identified by multiple media outlets and former players.

Symonds’ family appealed to privacy.

Former Australian captain Allan Border was among those who paid tribute to Symonds on Sunday.

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

“He was a bit of an old-fashioned cricketer in a way,” Border told Nine Network. “He was an adventurer, he loved fishing, he loved hiking and camping. People loved his very laid-back style.” That style brought Symonds into conflict with authority late in his career. In 2008, he missed Australia’s one-day streak against Bangladesh after going fishing when he had to attend a team meeting. He was also disciplined prior to the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup for violating team rules around alcohol.

“Horrible news to wake up to,” tweeted former Australian team-mate Jason Gillespie, adding: “Utterly devastated. We’ll all miss you mate.”

Adam Gilchrist, another former teammate and fellow commentator, wrote: “This really hurts,” while Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said he was “devastated”.

“We shared a wonderful relationship on and off the pitch. Thoughts and prayers with the family,” he tweeted.

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

This is another tragic blow to Australian cricket. Symonds is the third Australian cricket legend to die suddenly this year following the tragic deaths of legendary leg spinner Shane Warne and wicket-keeper Rod Marsh in March.

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