DateLine: 3rd June 2008
Tall and burly as his dear friend Mathew Hayden, he shares the similar passions with him that is fishing, besides hitting the bowlers out of the park. And he has a penchant for hitting sixes, for that is how he first caught attention, batting for Gloucestershire at age 20, he smashed 16 sixes in an innings against Glamorgan and 20 in all for the match, a record. He has been demolishing bowling attacks ever since.
He has gotten many opportunities in the international team, based on his fearsome reputation alone, but he has let them go with much callousness and after almost five years after making his ODI debut against Pakistan, he was yet to cement his place in the final eleven. However his innings against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup changed things and that game has become a turn around in his career. This reflects in his statistics, as till the he averaged just a paltry 23 but ever since that match, he has averaged more than 45.
Now he has become the side's most valuable player, which is shown from the fact that after he was injured in the 2006-07 season, the Australian ODI team struggled to their worst losing streak in a decade. But Symonds returned from injury mid-World Cup in 2007 and helped his team set up a second consecutive triumph.
Born in Birmingham, Symonds could have played for England but dreamed only of wearing the baggy green. In 2004, he made his debut against Sri Lanka, but wasn’t too successful and searched in vain to find consistency in the Tests too. Given an opportunity when Shane Watson was injured and Damien Martyn retired, he appeared in his first Ashes series and scored a career best in his second game with 156 at the MCG.
The past year has been easily his best, with 777 runs in nine Tests against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies. The high was an unbeaten 162 in the first innings at the SCG, which was quickly followed by the low of a lengthy race row involving Harbhajan Singh. The problems did not prevent him becoming the most popular overseas player at the Indian Premier League auction, where he sold for US$1.35m, and he had four games with the Deccan Chargers. After the tournament he switched back into five-day mode and a pair of half-centuries in the tight opening contest with West Indies showed his growing batting maturity and sense of security at Test level. By the end of the campaign his average was a respectable 44.65. However, his off-field attitude continued to be a problem and the last straw came when he went fishing in Darwin when he should have been at a team meeting in the lead-up to an ODI series against Bangladesh. Symonds was sent home from the series and not picked for the tour of India in late 2008.