In one word, Michael Clarke expressed his grief after the death of Andrew Symonds.
The former national captain posted a photo on Instagram of him and Symonds carrying the late Shane Warren on their shoulders after the Australian Ashes bleaching in January 2007.
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Clarke later posted a second photo of Clark and Symonds before a Boxing Day test.
Clarke has also posted a number of times on Twitter, including responding to a user who said he “definitely” bought a beer from Symonds after playing a part in his half-century sack against Sri Lanka in 2006.
However, from best friends to ex-boyfriends, the duo haven’t been talking in over a decade.
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Unlike former Prime Ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke, who were said to have put their differences aside before the latter’s death on May 16, 2019, Clark and Symonds never made things right.
Just last month, Symonds opened up about his strained relationship with Clark on Brett Lee podcast.
For Symonds, who was one of the best ODI cricketers in the world after a century of breakthrough at the 2003 World Cup, jealousy played a role after the riches on display in the IPL.
Symonds was the perfect prototype for the modern T20 trigger.
A hard hitting batsman, Symonds can bend over a docking and is useful for spins. He was also the best defensive player in the world.
His all-round talents earned him $1.8 million to purchase the Deccan Chargers at the IPL’s opening ceremony in 2008.
“We got close. When (Clark) came over to the side I used to hit him a lot,” Symonds told me.
“So when he came over to the side I was really taking care of him. I created a bond.
“Matthew Hayden said to me – when I started IPL, I got a penny to go and play the IPL – select it because there was a bit of jealousy that probably got into the relationship (with Clark) there.
“Money does funny things. It’s a good thing but it can be poison and I think it might have poisoned our relationship.
“I have enough respect for him not to go into detail about what was said.
“My friendship with him is no longer and I’m comfortable with that, but I’m not going to sit here and start throwing mud.”
Later in 2008, Symonds was sent home after missing a team meeting prior to a series against Bangladesh. The 33-year-old decided to go fishing instead.
Clarke questioned his commitment to the national team.
“It came to a head because he missed yesterday’s game,” reserve captain Michael Clark said.
“I think a paramount concern for us is Andrew’s commitment to play for this team. In my opinion, and I know in the rest of the leadership group’s opinion, you have to be 100 per cent committed. That is all of the aspects of being an international cricketer.
“We believe in the best interests of this team, in the best interests of Andrew Symonds (for him) to have time away from the game. And let’s try to get him right as soon as possible to get him back into our squad.”
“Andrew was obviously very frustrated. He accepts our decision… I hope he walks away from this and puts himself back in our squad because he is a very important player and we want him to be part of our team.”
Less than a year later, Symonds was sent home ahead of the 2009 T20 World Cup for another alcohol-related accident.
His dismissal ended his international career.
“I don’t think Cricket Australia could have done more for him,” said Captain Ricky Bunting.
“He has been left out on a number of occasions and has been working through some off-pitch operations over the past 12-18 months to improve himself in various aspects of his life. He has had many opportunities, that’s for sure. (then CEO) explained James Sutherland. That it was an alcohol-related accident. We’re talking about the commitments he’s made to himself and the team, and as much as he’s let himself down, and his teammates down, he’s let down Cricket Australia.”
Symonds said he was disappointed by Clarke after the first incident.
Clarke said the friendship was a “two-way street”, and wrote that Symonds resented him being chosen as interim leader with Ponting’s absence in the short series in 2008.
“Some of his former teammates will take his side, feed his conviction that I have let him down and put ambition on my buddies,” Clark wrote in My Story.
“I would say he let me down too – if he had understood companionship as a two-way street, he would have seen that I should do what is right for the whole team.”
But in between the highly publicized moments of national embarrassment, there were also clashes between Symonds and Clark.
Most famous was on a tour of the West Indies in 2008, months after the “Monkeygate” incident and not before the moment of his catch, in which Symonds poured a drink over Clark.
“I threw a drink at him. He didn’t tell me to go to sleep, he said something else but I had a drink and what he said made me mad.” .
“What he said to me was nowhere accurate, and that direct point is where he and I lost him.
“Our friendship was destroyed in that moment.
“He said to me, not with those words, but suggested that I am a selfish and selfish player. The only thing I don’t consider myself is that it really bothered me.”
Clark, in his 2015 autobiography, has a different view of the moment.
“Bryan recalls a funny incident in a match against Sri Lanka a few years ago, when the ball hit my leg, hit my foot and bounced through the air, and got caught. You owe me a drink,” Clark wrote as he left, laughing.
“We laugh about it, but suddenly something explodes in Symmo’s brain and he decides he’s going to give me that drink now: He pours a glass of wine over my head. It’s an amazing moment. He’s frothing with rage, and Brian has to stand between us before Simmo leaves.”
“I don’t know for sure what he thinks. Despite my efforts to reconcile, he will not speak to me again on tour.”