Explosive former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds will be honoured before the first One Day International (ODI) between the hosts and Zimbabwe at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Symonds died in a car accident on May 14.
Widely acknowledged as a legend of Australian cricket, Symonds, who was affectionately known as “Roy”, played 26 Tests and 212 limited-overs internationals for his country between 2004 and 2008 and was noted especially for his ferocious hitting in the middle order.
Ahead of the opening ODI on Sunday, Australia wicket-keeper batter Alex Carey confirmed that the hosts will be paying respects to late all-rounder Symonds.
It was just over three months ago that Symonds had passed away in a car crash. A resident of Townsville especially after his international retirement, there wouldn’t have been a better way to commence an international summer than by honouring Symonds.
This will be the first international since Symonds’ untimely passing at the age of 46 and Carey said a win would be the perfect way to honour him.
“I think it’s really important,” he said about starting the Australian summer of cricket in Townsville.
“I think it’s great for the game, it’s great for the fans, and hopefully we see a lot of faces here on Sunday.
“I think it will also be a great way to start the summer in honouring a legend in Andrew Symonds up here in his backyard.
“His death was obviously sad and an opportunity for us here to pay our respects in a way.
“Some guys had some close relationships as well with him. So, as I said, I think it’s a fitting way to start the summer,” Carey said in a video posted by cricket.com.au across their social media handles.
While Australia will go into the three-game series in Townsville and a three-match series in Cairns as favourites to beat Zimbabwe, Carey, said the home team would not be taking them lightly, particularly after their 2-1 series win over Bangladesh earlier this month.
Zimbabwe chased down 303 and 290 with five wickets left before losing the final game by 101 runs to show they will be no pushovers and Carey says the Aussies want to hit the ground running with the World Cup in India in 14 months.
“We’re keen to start the summer well,” he said.
“A lot of guys have played some cricket overseas over the last couple of weeks. Some guys have come off some pre-seasons back home so it will be great to get out here today and start preparations leading into Sunday.
“We have six games pretty close back-to-back, so it’s a good way to kick off.
“Keeping in mind we’ve got a World Cup just over 12 months away. So some good cricket now in the one-day format is what we’re after.
“There are some early starts, so we’ll have to prepare well, and Zimbabwe are coming off some form.
“They knocked off Bangladesh recently, so we will do our research and prepare accordingly.”