For many Australians, the brutal shoulder charge on a Gabba streaker remains the enduring memory of Andrew Symonds’ career.
India was on the verge of winning a triangular one-day series in Australia, needing seven wickets at the Gabba to lift the trophy.
The Aussies were in dire straits, with short-format powerhouses Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke back in the sheds cheaply.
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Andrew Symonds strutted out into the middle, joining Queensland teammate Matthew Hayden at the crease in the ninth over — Australia still required a further 227 runs for an unlikely victory.
But couple of minutes later, India seamer Sreesanth’s fifth over was interrupted by a streaker who had sprinted onto the Gabba turf.
The nude pitch invader, later revealed to be Brisbane resident Robert Ogilvie, ran directly towards Symonds at the non-striker’s end.
Symonds took matters into his own hands, dropping his shoulder into the streaker who toppled helplessly onto the deck.
“I didn’t even notice him, to be honest,” Ogilvie later told Channel 9’s A Current Affair.
“I was more worried about people chasing me, and next thing I knew I was on my face.”
It was a moment that cemented Symonds’ place in Australian cricket folklore — footage of the incident has registered millions of views on YouTube and social media platforms.
“It was a bit of a gloomy night here in Brisbane,” he told Fox Cricket in 2018.
“We were playing India in a final and that night Australia was doing it tough and there was a couple of overweight Queensland policemen not catching up with that man as they probably should have.
“So I took the law into my own hands for a brief moment there and he failed to keep moving.”
For many Australians, that shoulder charge remains the enduring memory of Symonds’ career, which featured two World Cup triumphs and an Ashes whitewash.
“I still get asked about my bump back in 2008 all the time,” Symonds told News Corp last year.
“It’s one of those ones that keeps coming up and people love to talk about. It’s something I’m known for now, people say, ‘That’s the fella who knocked over the streaker’.
“Pitch invaders might think streaking across the field is funny, but ultimately it’s just a lack of respect for the athletes.”
The streaker incident, which took place less than two months after the “Monkeygate” saga, served as a reflection of his fun-loving character and larrikin demeanour.
Despite all the off-field scandals that had marred the 2007/08 summer of cricket, Symonds still managed bring a smile to the face of his Indian rivals, who were high-fiving and giggling as Ogilvie was escorted from the field.
Symonds was universally liked, and the outpouring of grief from around the cricket world today is proof of that.
Symonds was involved in a car accident on Saturday evening outside Townsville. He was the only person travelling in the car, but his two dogs survived.
In a statement, Queensland Police said the single-car crash occurred at Hervey Range, as Symonds’ vehicle left the road and rolled. Paramedics tried to save him but were unable to.
He is survived by wife Laura and young children Chloe and Billy.
Symonds was a devastating batter who could bowl either medium pace or off-spin, depending on the situation of the game.
He was a key member of Australia’s ODI teams that won World Cups in 2003 and 2007, playing 198 times in the 50-over format, scoring 5088 runs and taking 133 wickets.
Originally published as ‘Absolute gold’: Streaker bump the enduring memory of Andrew Symonds’ cricket career