“You can’t criticise him for his loyalties but he would have been in England’s Test team and one-day team, don’t worry about that. Captaincy Andrew Symonds batting for Gloucestershire in a Sunday League game at Taunton, 1995 In Gloucestershire’s second innings he belted 76 at better than a run-a-ball, upping his tally of sixes for the match to 20 – another first-class record. Always under the microscope. After Ian Healy and Queensland academy coach Dave Gilbert helped engineer Symonds’ move to Gloucestershire – playing as a non-overseas player through his UK passport – he would be subjected to those questions time and again during a spectacular but controversial first summer of county cricket. “He was hungry, really hungry. Brutally aggressive with the bat, powerfully agile on the field and deceptively dangerous with the ball, Andrew Symonds was the ultimate limited-overs package. But the next steps were far from simple. Ponting in conversation with Tendulkar and Harbhajan after the latter’s exchange with Symonds. He spent another year on the T20 circuit before retiring from all cricket in 2011, despite the lucrative contracts on offer. Shahid Afridi 2, Irfan Pathan 1, Kyle Mills 1, Jon Lewis 1, Hamilton Masakadza 1. A few months later came Symonds’ outlandish breakout knock, the Birmingham-born Aussie peppering the postage stamp of a ground at Pen-y-Pound, Abergavenny with 16 sixes in an innings – a first-class record which stood for 20 years. We were the alpha males. Countries “I can still see his face at pre-season,” says Jack Russell, recalling the arrival of a 19-year-old Andrew Symonds at Gloucester in the spring of 1995. We want equality, “I didn’t want to play for England, I didn’t want to meet my natural mother but I did consider myself an Aussie”, “From a selfish point of view, it would have been good to have him play for Gloucester for 10 or 20 years”, “I know a lot of people in Australian cricket didn’t want him to go to that World Cup but Ricky Ponting said, ‘I want him in there’”, “You can’t criticise him for his loyalties but he would have been in England’s Test team and one-day team”, “Whatever he was doing, he was doing 100 per cent”, “He had never been one to seek the limelight; he loved his sport and was brilliant at it but the attention that came with it never sat well with him”, “Andrew Symonds was never going to be a guy who hung on right to the end”, Australia’s World Cup opener against Pakistan, Related Story: 2008 Sydney Test – Drama of the highest order, Quiz! As soon as he wasn’t winning matches regularly, then he wasn’t going to be in the side, because he brought problems off the field. The most infamous incident came at Cardiff in 2005 when, in the midst of the breakdown of his marriage, Symonds went on an all-night bender ahead of an ODI against Bangladesh. “I was lucky enough to be at Abergavenny to see the 16th six of Andrew Symonds’ innings sail over the outfield, a hawthorn bush and a patch of bindweed and onto a nearby tennis court,” wrote Matthew Engel in the 1996 Wisden Almanack. Other Symonds’ international debut came in 1998 in an ODI against Pakistan in Lahore. While alcohol-related issues continued to rear their head, Ponting wrote in his autobiography, At The Close Of Play, that it was the alleged racist abuse Symonds received from Harbhajan Singh, and the fallout from that incident, which triggered the breakdown of his international career. IPL, World XI (Test) “This was the last of a series of instances where he broke the team rules and in total they added up to a man who didn’t really want to play for Australia anymore,” said Ponting. “I just happened to be born in England.”. A pure matchwinner for Australia, he even shrugged off the limited-overs specialist tag to make a surprise entry into Test cricket where again, he shone bright with quite a few impressive performances. Consistent form and the retirement of senior Aussie players led to his on and off recall in the squad, giving him further chances to prove himself. Name the tailenders with the most Test runs, Wisden team selectors: Pick your dream XIs, Quiz!

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