The sports fraternity across the world is still in shock at the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds who died at an early age of 46. The great Australian cricketer left a deep impact on international cricket at the highest levels with his ingenuity and determination.
The two-time World Cup winner Symonds was the sole passenger in the car crash just outside of Townsville in his home state of Queensland and police confirmed that he died on the spot.
Whether he was thumping runs, taking wickets or fielding like a demon, Andrew Symonds was a larger-than-life figure in Australian cricket.
The loss of Symonds comes just two months after the tragic passing of champion leg-spinner Shane Warne, while former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh also died of a heart attack earlier this year.
Symonds averaged 40.61 with the bat from 26 Tests for his country, but was perhaps more well known for his exploits in white-ball cricket and sublime fielding whether in the outfield or inside the circle.
He featured in 198 ODIs - scoring six centuries and 30 half-centuries - while also contributing 133 wickets with his more than handy off-spin and medium pace.
There were several moments of the magic created by the man they called 'Roy'. But perhaps the greatest of them all was at the 2003 World Cup where Symonds burst onto the stage with his best innings as he torched Pakistan with an unbeaten 143 in Johannesburg early in the tournament and helped Australia remain unbeaten and then defeated India in a one-sided final.
The burly right-hander was also part of the victorious World Cup side at the 2007 World Cup in West Indies as Australia claimed their fourth 50-over World Cup title.
Symonds also played 14 T20I for Australia, managing 337 runs and eight wickets.
Whether it be Tests and ODIs for Australia or early in his career for Queensland, there were arguably no better fielders in world cricket than Andrew Symonds.
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-round 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."
From a player like Rhodes, there can be no higher praise, and all these years on, it remains a fitting tribute for a truly unique cricketer. (ANI)