“Unfortunately I’ve been here too often, this year, under these circumstances. I can’t quite believe it, to be honest,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports. “Another tragic day for cricket.”
He said Symonds had been an adventurer off the field.
“He was an entertainer with the bat when it came to cricket and as you say he was an imposing guy, he was a big lad. He was, I believe, a very good rugby league player as a young kid as well … hit the ball a long way and just wanted to entertain.
“He was in a way a little bit of an old-fashioned cricketer. Would not have been out of place playing in probably the ’70s or ’80s.
“That hundred he got at the MCG was probably his defining moment … he was out there with his mate Matty Hayden. I remember he jumped up, leapt in the air when he hit I think a four or a six back over the bowler’s head, and he jumped up on ‘Haydos’ and I think he nearly squashed Haydos’ nose …
“That was a great moment, not just for Symmo, but for cricket, that you could see that the passion and the friendship were there. And to score your first hundred, because he wasn’t really considered a Test cricketer. Everyone sort of had him earmarked as a white-ball player, but he wanted to prove to the world he could play Test cricket, and he did that day at the MCG.”
Shocked teammates expressed their sorrow online, with Adam Gilchrist tweeting: “This really hurts”.
Former teammate Jason Gillespie posted: “Horrendous news to wake up to. Utterly devastated. We are all gonna miss you mate.”
Former Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akthar also expressed his sympathies.
“Devastated to hear about Andrew Symonds passing away in a car crash in Australia. We shared a great relationship on & off the field. Thoughts & prayers with the family.”
Born in Birmingham and with a Caribbean background, Symonds could have played for England. He was raised by adoptive parents Ken and Barbara Symonds, who moved to Queensland shortly after his adoption.
One of the most athletic and attacking cricketers ever to play for Australia during a relatively short and sometimes troubled career, Symonds has world-class statistics as an allrounder.
He played 26 Tests between 2004 and 2008, scoring 1462 runs at an average of 41 with two centuries. He also claimed 24 wickets at an average of 37 with his lively medium pace and off breakers.
Symonds excelled in white ball cricket, playing 198 one-day internationals for 5088 runs at 40 with six hundreds at a strike rate of 92 and claiming 133 wickets.
His career coincided with the rise of Twenty20 cricket, playing 14 times for Australia for a phenomenal strike rate of 169.
Symonds was an unfulfilled talent during the first five years of his one-day career, which began in 1998, with his batting average dipping below 24 in his first 53 games.
Strongly supported by then captain Ricky Ponting, Symonds was the last man chosen in Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad.
He only played the opening match against Pakistan because Australia’s squad had been hit by injuries and suspension.
With Australia struggling at 4-86 Symonds blazed an 143 out from 125 balls with 18 fours and two sixes to set up victory.
He became of the most important members of the one-day side what went on to win successive World Cups.
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