Legends remember Andrew Symonds as a 'real heart and soul guy'

Townsville (Queensland), May 27 (IANS): Late Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was given a touching farewell at a private funeral and public memorial service, attended by the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Darren and the legendary wicketkeeper-batter Ian Healy on Friday.

Symonds, 46, was killed earlier this month in a single-car crash outside Townsville, on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia.

The cricket legends remembered Symonds -- the two-time World Cup winner and one of the most recognisable faces in international cricket -- as a "real heart and soul guy", one who had incredible loyalty and honesty, according to sen.com.au.

"What has struck all of us is that since his passing we've spoken so much and so much has been said about 'Roy' (Symonds) that often it's not about the cricket, very rarely have we spoken about the cricket. Like his life off the field, in cricket he just couldn't understand why things needed to be complicated," said Gilchrist, former Australia wicketkeeper-batter and Symonds' teammate.

"It was just simply black and white. There was a job to be done, and if that job was hitting that spin bowler as far over the roof as you could go, you'd just go and do it. Or you'd certainly have a good crack at doing it, and that was the same as anything he took on off the field. His skill level was exceptional. We've spoken so much about him as a person, we forget to talk about the level of cricketer he was," the report quoted Gilchrist as saying.

Healy added that while Symonds would look quite laid-back off the field, but once he took the field he was a changed person.

"He's known as a chilled, laid-back character, but he's anything but on the cricket field. You look at you blokes who got to play with him; it's sort of like envy for players that this group got to play together. How were you not going to have success?" Healy told Gilchrist.

"Success and fun, he could find the balance there. The intensity, he was fiercely determined to never take a backward step on the field, he set high standards, had high expectations of himself and expected teammates to try to get up to not necessarily his level, but certainly achieve everything they could," added Healy.



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