BRISBANE: Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson paid a glowing tribute to Andrew Symonds, declaring the late all-rounder the greatest teammate he ever had. Symonds left the cricketing world in mourning after dying at the age of 46 in a car crash in Townsville, Queensland on May 14.
“You felt bulletproof when you played in the same team as Andrew Symonds. Having him at the point and just knowing he always had your back no matter what. And to bat with him was something very special. It is shattering to think he is not with us anymore.”
“I look back at old footage I have seen over the last couple of weeks and (shaking head) he was so good, just so incredibly good. And to go with it one of the best teammates you could ever have,” said Watson to Former England pacer Isa Guha on ICC Review Show.
Watson further claimed that there weren’t many players born with the same ability as Symonds and even compared him to West Indies batting great Sir Vivian Richards.
“He was very much Viv Richards reincarnated in the way he played. Even before I played against him you always heard about this big, powerful, six-hitting batter who could do everything and who was an amazing athlete.”
“His ability to bowl spin and medium pace, he was one of the best fielders to ever play. His all-round ability was something we haven’t seen much of and won’t see much of again.”
Symonds’ untimely demise comes after the deaths of leg-spin legend Shane Warne and wicketkeeper Rod Marsh in a span of less than 24 hours in March. Watson felt the cricketing community will have to be around the Symonds’ family, especially his kids Chloe and Billy.
“His poor two kids, such beautiful kids and they adore their dad as well. We need to make sure we rally around his family as much as we can, as I know he would do that for us.”
Isa agreed with the same. “Just thinking of his friends and his family and his beautiful kids as well. I am sure everyone will be there to support. Not just the Australian cricketing community, but also the wider community around the world.”
She also paid a tribute to Symonds, recalling the time spent working with the all-rounder as a commentator recently during the cricketing summer in Australia. “We have lost two unbelievable people from cricket, alongside Rod Marsh not long before that, and I still can’t quite believe what is going on, it doesn’t feel real.”
“He (Symonds) was actually a shoulder to cry on in the aftermath of the Shane Warne (news) as we were working together in broadcast and we were just trying to keep each others’ spirits up. It just doesn’t feel real and is hard to understand really what has happened.”