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Why the Australian cricketer meant so much to us

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“I played cricket with a lot of old-fashioned players, and it affected me,” he said in 2010. – Some of them [opponents] it would have hurt and it was the weakness of the opposition and it was when you walked in with both feet. It was one of my roles on the Australian side. Matthew Hayden and I would impose someone, we could see something and go for it. “

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Its turning point came in 2003. Ponting, a staunch supporter, has called on the national commission to select Simonds for the World Cup in South Africa. When Warne flew home on the eve of the tournament due to a drug ban, Symonds regained his favor by scoring the most outrageous 143 against Pakistan in the opening game at the Wanderers, setting up an unbeaten march to the Cup.

From there, he was an integral member of the White Ball team for the next six years, despite being dismissed for appearing drunk at the ODI against Bangladesh in 2005. Symonds celebrated Shane Watson’s birthday before it started. Punished and punished, he decided to be more disciplined in the future.

Achieving the cricket test was also a case of slow burns. In 2004, he was speculatively selected before Simon Katic in Sri Lanka, and it was only in the 2006-2007 Ashes series, replacing Damien Martin, that Simonds made his place. It was a far-sighted but crucial time. As Warne, Glen McGrath and Justin Langer retire soon, the team needed a new star and Cricket Australia a new brand.

For a time, Symonds was everywhere: the face of Ford, author of two best-selling books, and the centerpiece of the Australian team. He bridged his biceps to take part in the 2007 World Cup defense in the West Indies, and then on the first day of the SCG test against India, carved out another huge century after an early back advantage failed to reach referee Steve Buckner. As a rule, Symonds did not hide that he was hit.

Here, however, the story went awry. After listening to racist “monkey” taunts both on and off the field during his previous tour of India, Simmonds thought he had reached an agreement with Harbhajan Singh that such things should not happen again. But the Australian sledding culture advocated by Hayden and Symonds has made further confrontation inevitable. Insult returned to Sydney.

The Interior Ministry’s initial verdict banning Harbhajan was overturned on appeal amid threats by Indians to cancel the tour, which took the current leadership of CA nightmares about the money hole to go. Sitting in the Adelaide Federal Court building, Symonds felt humiliated and even worse for teammates Ponting, Hayden and Clark who advocated for him. Confidence immediately collapsed, and a relentless slide began.

When Symonds smashed the sly strip during the next one-day game in Brisbane, this marked moment also illustrated his increasingly annoying look. A few months later in the West Indies his friendship with Clark ended when he poured his head on the vice-captain in front of Brian Lara. When Symonds missed training to go fishing in the Top End in the winter with Clark as acting captain and Ponting at the conference, he was again dismissed.

Andrew Symonds was going to shoot down the striker in Gabbe, March 2008.Credit:AP

“Since the beginning of 2008, he has become a little different, much more wary and frustrated. It wasn’t him, ”said his former teammate James Hopes. “He was one of the guys who loved to drink beer and drink with friends, but he could flip the switch in a month or two from the series, and suddenly his workouts would be two or three times a day and his intensity would run through the roof. It just didn’t happen after that summer. “

There were many discussions and negotiations, in one of which Symonds asked to be able to just play and not need other commercial and external signs of international cricket. What used to be simple has now become terribly complex.

The injury is also still catching up. At 31, Symonds played several times too much when he wasn’t in full form, never wanting to let Ponting or the selectors down. In his last test match, which suffered from knee problems against South Africa in Melbourne, he was far from a free and smoothly moving predator of his best days.

It all ended, unfortunately, with another breach of discipline in England before the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup and an early flight home – this time he was watching his beloved Queensland in his home country. Symonds will play IPL, comment and remain a popular figure, largely because of the exciting nature of his skill and the good faith of his character on the field.

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One of Simonds’ greatest legacies has only recently been articulated by Indigenous activist Tamika Sedler. “Simo was the only colored person I’ve seen on the Australian side,” she said at the Cricket Connecting Country forum in 2020. “As a young person growing up in Australia, we need to be so multicultural and multifaceted. Why are so few people with colored faces doing this sport? ”

So Simmonds ’losses are huge. For what he did, how he did it and who he was.

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