‘Free spirit’ Symonds happy out of cricketing spotlight

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BRISBANE - Former Australian Test player Andrew Symonds has gone from the glare of the spotlight to the anonymity of farming life in North Queensland.

In 2006, during the last Ashes series, Symonds was bigger than Santa Claus. Smiting balls into the crowd, taking wickets and throwing them down. Emerging from a car wash wearing only a towel, muscles rippling, dreadlocks drooping, brushing his teeth and wearing a look that said: “What? Isn’t this how everyone takes a shower?”

“He was really the face of our marketing,” Cricket Australia’s Michael Brown says of Andrew Symonds. “Everybody - male and female - thought he was a great ad for cricket.”

His endorsements included Ford, Solo, Asics, Skins and Gray-Nicolls.

Four years on, Symonds is even further away from the cricket field he marauded over.

Two years after the last of his 26 Tests, and 18 months since he lost the battle to conform to the requirements of the 21st century cricketer, Symonds is living in Townsville with plans to buy a property nearby in the country of his childhood, where he’ll farm cattle, sugar cane, maybe some mangoes. His love of fishing endures - the Pacific Ocean horizon is all that fences him in, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Queensland Cricket put out a statement saying Symonds would not be playing in next month’s Twenty20 Big Bash, having informed the Bulls he was “moving in a direction that didn’t involve playing cricket again for Queensland”.

Where the game that can seem like his cursed gift takes Symonds next will be decided at next month’s Indian Premier League auction.

He has been released after three campaigns with the Deccan Chargers and is now a player with a reserve price of 300,000 dollars, not quite the 1.35 million dollars he was originally contracted for.

Even at 35, and with only a handful of Twenty20 games for Surrey this year to showcase his wares, he will surely be snapped up. And so continues the conundrum that has dogged him all along - his unique talent guarantees he is in demand, and while it seems he’d be just as happy doing something else, a man can’t make the big bucks dangling a rod in the water. (ANI)

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