Former Test cricketer Andrew Symonds dies in car accident

Former Australian Test cricketer Andrew Symonds has died after a vehicular auto accident near Townsville in northeastern Australia. He was 46 years old.

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

It described Symonds as “a cult hero during the peak of his international playing career and one of Australian cricket’s most accomplished all-rounders”.

“Queenslander was a larger-than-life figure who gained a wide fan base during his peak years, not only for his tough ways but also for his larrikin persona.”

Symonds played 26 Test matches for Australia and scored 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 occurred in the Hervey Range, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Townsville.

“Preliminary information indicated that the car was being driven on Hervey Range Road near Ellis River Bridge after 11 p.m.,” a police statement said. “Emergency services attempted to revive the 46-year-old driver and sole occupant. However, he died due to injuries.”

The Symonds family appealed for privacy.

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

Border said that Symonds “hit the ball long and just wanted to have fun.

“He was kind of an old-fashioned cricketer,” Border told the Nine Network. “He was an adventurer, loved his fishing, he loved hiking, camping, people loved his very cool style.”

That 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 when he was required to attend a team meeting. He was disciplined for violating team rules around alcohol prior to the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup.

With dreadlocks and zinc cream applied to his face, Symonds has always bitten a flamboyant figure in the Australian team.

His loss is another bitter blow to Australian cricket after legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne passed away in Thailand in March. Wicketkeeper Rod Marsh also passed away in March at the age of 74.