Australian greats, former teammates honour Symonds at public memorial

Andrew Symonds
An art student gives final touches to a painting of the late Andrew Symonds in Mumbai on May 15, 2022. File photo: AFP/Indranil Mukherjee

Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was remembered as a rare cricket talent and "mischievous character" at a public memorial in the north Queensland city of Townsville on Friday.

Symonds, who played 238 Internationals, including 26 Tests, for Australia between 1998 and 2009, died at the age of 46 after rolling his car off a road near Townsville this month.

Former teammates and cricket greats paid tribute at the city's Riverway Stadium, where hundreds gathered to bid farewell to the player nicknamed 'Roy'.

"The first thing I think of is his commitment to the team, to friendship, to mateship, loyal almost to a fault, his mischievous character," former Australian captain Adam Gilchrist said at the memorial.

"(He was) loyal beyond belief and just good fun."

A swashbuckling batsman and brilliant fielder, Symonds was a larger-than-life character renowned for butting heads with team management over discipline issues.

"He wasn’t a perfect person and he never pretended to be," said former teammate Matthew Mott, recently appointed coach of England's white-ball teams.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and retired pace bowling champions Glenn McGrath and Mitchell Johnson were among guests at a separate private funeral on Friday, Australian media reported.

Symonds' death came with Australian cricket still coming to terms with the passing of spin bowling icon Shane Warne and former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who both died in March.

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