Allan Border has led an outpouring of tributes for the late Andrew “Roy” Symonds with a ripping yarn about a drinking game he used to play at the Queensland Bulls.
Ahead of the first Test at his beloved Gabba since his passing, Border recalled the fond memories of their careers overlapping briefly at state level.
“It is always sad when you think about it because he was such a huge character,” Border said.
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“He was a larger than life personality. A great man to have in your dressing room and on the field he was awesome.
“But off the field he was absolutely outstanding. Some of the things he used to get up to.
“He used to play these drinking games after a Sheffield Shield win and if you drank you had to drink with your opposite hand.
“If you got caught drinking with your normal hand you had to skol your beer and Roy was right in the thick of things.
“One time I saw him and he had to tape his hand up because he had eight beers in about half an hour.
“He had the physio tape around it just so he wouldn’t use his preferred hand.
“He was a great character and sadly missed.”
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Border revealed he actually roomed with Symonds in his last year for Queensland and there was never a dull moment.
“Occasionally I had to pull him into line,” Border said.
“He was my roommate in my final year when he first played for Queensland. Him and Matthew Mott, so I had the daily double there trying to control those two.
“It was a lot of fun, but I was Pappa bear.”
Symonds’ long-time friend and teammate Adam Gilchrist summed up the player and the man with a fitting tribute of his own.
“The cricketing world have lost some great people in the last 12 months and none with a greater fan following than Andrew Symonds here at the Gabba,” Gilchrist said.
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“Roy, as he was affectionately known was an entertainer, a box office cricketer and a personality that will be sorely missed.
“However, his spirit will live on forever here at his favourite ground at The Gabba.
“The trademark zinc around the lips, Andrew Symonds was an infectious personality and a wonderful man.
“His spirit we hope to have it live on long into the future. A wonderful legacy and a great character.”
Isa Guha paid tribute to Symonds’ caring nature and his ability to play hard, but enjoy life away from the field.
“We miss him greatly,” Guha said.
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“He was such an amazing part of the team here at Fox Cricket.
“He played it tough on the field, but a generous, kind man and incredibly humble. Charming and just great fun to be around and we missed him so much.”
South African great Shaun Pollock had many battles with Symonds over the years and remembered a fierce competitor, with a great cricket mind.
“He was such a great competitor and a wonderful athlete with bat and ball and in the field in particular,” Pollock said.
“He set new high standards. The blood in the water comment, I heard that a couple of times. That was his favourite. He always used to go down that route.
“He was one of those guys that could just take the game away from you.
“Such an exciting cricketer. Always in the action and really nice to watch.
“I got to work with him at the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, so I got to know him better there.
“I got to see his thinking just his cricket mind was actually fantastic and he was a deeper thinker on the game than people give him credit for and the way he conducted himself.”
Mark Waugh believes Symonds was underrated as a cricketer and remembered him as a great teammate on and off the field.
“He was just a typical Queenslander,” Waugh said.
“Laid back, laconic, even the way they talk is a different language to us Southerners down in NSW.
“He is a fierce Queenslander with the rugby league and the cricket.
“But you often judge a person’s character by the way your teammates treat you and he was one of the most popular players in any team, Andrew Symonds.
“He had great respect and they all loved him, no matter what team he played in.
“I first came across him when he was playing for Gloucestershire and I was playing for Essex.
“He was only 18 and he peeled off a 150 against us and I thought who is this guy?
“I think he was highly underrated as a player to be quite honest.”