India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was involved in one of the biggest on-field controversies that threatened to spoil the relationship between the Australian and India cricket boards, on Sunday paid his tribute to legendary all-rounder Andrew Symonds who was killed in a car crash in Queensland on Saturday.
The off-spinner took to twitter to pay his tribute to the 46-year-old former Australian all-rounder, saying the cricketing great went too soon.
“Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds. Gone too soon. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. Prayers for the departed soul. #RIPSymonds,” tweeted Harbhajan.
The charismatic all-rounder played 26 Tests for Australia, scoring 1,462 runs at 40.61 and picking up 24 wickets with his off-spin and gentle medium-pace.
During the second Test of the series between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2008, Symonds scored an unbeaten 162 in the first innings that helped the hosts to a 122-run victory.
However, the Test would later be mired in controversy over the ‘Monkeygate affair’. Symonds accused Harbhajan of calling him a ‘monkey’, which triggering a war of words between the two sides. In fact, India even threatened to cancel the tour and return home after the spinner was initially suspended for three games.
Symonds had then lodged a complaint that he had been racially abused by Harbhajan. The case then went to match referee Mike Procter, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) lodging a protest over their player’s suspension.
However, later the racism charge on Harbhajan could not be proved and the three-Test ban was lifted.
Symonds also featured in in 198 ODIs — scoring six centuries and 30 half-centuries — while also contributing 133 wickets with his more than handy off-spin and medium pace.
It was at the 2003 World Cup where Symonds burst on to the stage with perhaps his greatest innings as he smashed Pakistan with an unbeaten 143 in Johannesburg early in the tournament and helped Australia remain unbeaten and defeat India in a one-sided final.
The right-hander was also part of the victorious World Cup side at the 2007 World Cup in West Indies as Australia claimed their fourth 50-over World Cup title.
Symonds also played 14 T20I for Australia, managing 337 runs and eight wickets.