Former Australian wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist, who shared a long relationship with late all-rounder Andrew Symonds, said that the all-rounder was full of life and a “real heart and soul type of guy” who could make everyone laugh.
Symonds, a two-time World Cup winner, died in a car crash on Saturday night. He was the sole passenger in the crash just outside of Townsville in his home state of Queensland and police confirmed that the former cricketer died at the scene of the mishap.
Gilchrist, who played alongside Symonds in most of the all-rounder`s 26 Tests and 198 ODIs with the duo achieving great success both with the red and white ball under Ricky Ponting, added he was simply stunned by the news.
“Simply stunned, I can’t believe we`re in this space again (in) the cricketing world,” Gilchrist told SEN on Sunday. “Anyone that had anything to do with `Symo` knew exactly what he was like, he was one of the good guys, a real heart and soul type of guy that really made you happy — he just lit up the room wherever he was. He is just going to be so sorely missed.”
Giving an insight into Symonds` life, Gilchrist said that while he wouldn`t call the all-rounder a practical joker but his ability to come up with funny comments endeared him to his fellow players.
“I wouldn`t say so much a practical joker, but he just seemed to find a funny line or a funny comment at any given time,” Gilchrist said. “He was a true work hard and play hard (person), I think we all saw that. There was almost a beautiful naivety to a lot of things and innocence.
“He was so knowledgeable in the game of cricket, a whole lot more knowledgeable and articulate than what people might give him credit for. That was starting to shine through in his commentary, his ability to read the game and to know what was going to happen… it was amazing, it was an asset and a skill that Ricky Ponting as captain drew on a lot more than people know.”
Gilchrist also lauded Symonds` contribution to Australian cricket, saying that many a time he brought the team back from the brink of defeat to win the games for the side with his powerful hitting, crafty bowling and superb fielding.
“So many times he did save us, particularly when he was batting at five or six in One Day cricket,” Gilchrist said. “It`s a bit of a rebuild type position, and the one that jumps straight to mind is the innings against Pakistan at Johannesburg in the opening match of the 2003 World Cup.
“We found ourselves in trouble, `Roy` went in at 4/80 or something and pulled off one of the great hundreds, that was the launch of an undefeated run at a World Cup. Without Roy`s innings in that game who knows what happens, he set the tone. That`s probably the innings that really springs to mind for me.”
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