Townsville (Queensland), May 27 England’s new white-ball coach Matthew Mott has revealed that late Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds was “certainly considering” playing for England when he started out, as he had a UK passport.
Symonds, 46, was killed earlier this month in a single-car crash outside Townsville, on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia.
“He (Symonds) was certainly considering it (playing for England),” Mott told former Australia wicketkeeper-batter Ian Healy at the public memorial service for the late cricketer on Friday, reports cricket365.com.
Mott, when asked about the offer that came to the Birmingham-born cricketer at the end of 1995, said, “It (offer) was very enticing to him, he basically had it on a platter, and of course (his parents) were from there (England). But it got down to his moral compass: He was desperate to play for Australia. It was his childhood dream; it was never a monetary thing,” Mott, the former Australia women’s team head coach, was quoted as saying in the report.
In fact, County side Gloucestershire had signed Symonds as a “non-overseas player” and the-then 19-year-old Symonds ended up scoring four centuries in the season “and being offered a place on the England A tour of Pakistan”.
In his debut County game, Symonds hit 16 sixes in his unconquered 254 against Glamorgan in August 1995 standing, until England Test skipper Ben Stokes broke the record playing for Durham earlier this month, the report added.
Howver, Symonds declined the offer to play for the side captained by Nasser Hussain, and instead “declared his allegiance lay with Australia, linking up with their A side a year later”, according to the report.
Symonds’ former Australia team-mate Darren Lehmann said that England remained the late cricketer’s favourite destination.
“He loved touring England, loved playing there,” said Lehmann, adding Symonds was “the best player I ever coached.”
Lehmann coached Symonds when the duo was with Indian Premier League side Deccan Chargers.
“And I mean no disrespect to the other blokes here, but he was. To coach him was a pleasure. But more than that what he was, was just a great bloke.”