Cricket is mourning the loss of “an extraordinary player and even better human being” after the death of Andrew Symonds aged 46.
The former Australian all-rounder died in a single vehicle car crash in Queensland on Saturday night.
Tributes poured in from around the world for a player affectionately known as Roy.
Ricky Ponting, who captained Symonds for Australia, wrote on Twitter: “If Roy shook your hand you had his word, that’s the sort of bloke he was and that’s why I always wanted him on my team.
“An extraordinary player and even better human being. Can’t believe he’s gone. Thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Symonds played 26 Tests, 198 one-day internationals and 14 T20s for Australia, winning the World Cup in 2003 and 2007.
Long-time international team-mate Adam Gilchrist tweeted: “Think of your most loyal, fun, loving friend who would do anything for you. That’s Roy.”
Former Australia coach Darren Lehmann, another former team-mate of Symonds, tweeted: “Look after yourself up there great man, I am (heartbroken emoji), loved him so much and our thoughts are with the family at this time. Hug your loved ones #RIPRoy”.
Another team-mate Michael Clarke posted a heartbroken emoji in response to a video showing Symonds being caught out during a ODI after hitting the ball off Clarke at the non-striker’s end.
Symonds walked off appearing to mouth ‘you owe me a beer’ to Clarke, and when asked on Twitter if he had paid him back the former Australia captain said “I certainly did”.
Symonds, who played county cricket for Kent, Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Surrey, made a lasting impression on those he played with and against.
India great Sachin Tendulkar wrote: “Andrew Symond’s demise is shocking news for all of us to absorb.
“Not only was he a brilliant all-rounder, but also a live-wire on the field.
“I have fond memories of the time we spent together in Mumbai Indians. May his soul rest in peace, condolences to his family & friends.”
West Indies great Brian Lara said he had been in touch with Symonds recently and was struggling to comprehend the news.
He tweeted: “We exchanged messages just hours ago… what’s really going on? Baffled and heartbroken! How could we lose another iconic figure in our sport so soon RIP Roy Condolences to Andrew’s family and close friends.”
Virender Sehwag, the former India batsman, called Symonds “one of the best entertainers” and added “his passing is a great loss for world cricket”.
Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene paid tribute to a “great competitor who was so much fun off the field” while ex-England seamer Matthew Hoggard tweeted: “Horrible news Roy was larger than life a real character”.
Kent were “shocked and saddened” at the death of their “former overseas star and cult hero” while Surrey said Symonds had “left a mark at the club on and off the pitch”.
Lancashire tweeted: “We’re devastated to hear the passing of Andrew Symonds, who played for @lancscricket in 2005. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in peace, Symo.”
Gloucestershire also paid tribute, tweeting: “Everyone at Gloucestershire is devastated to hear of Andrew Symonds’ tragic death. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone who knew him at this sad time.”
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