Since mid-2008, he spent most of the time out of the team, due to disciplinary reasons, including alcohol. In June 2009 he was sent home from the 2009 World Twenty20, his third suspension, expulsion or exclusion from selection in the space of a year. His central contract was then withdrawn, and many cricket analysts speculated that the Australian administrators would no longer tolerate him, and that Symonds might announce his retirement. On 16 February 2012, Symonds announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, in an attempt to concentrate on his family life.
One of Symonds' biological parents was of West Indian background and the other was believed to be of Danish or Swedish descent. Symonds' adoptive parents Ken and Barbara moved to Australia shortly after his adoption, when he was three months old. Of the adopted siblings, Louise Symonds participated in Gladiators. He also has two non-adopted siblings. He spent the early part of his childhood in Charters Towers, northern Queensland, where his father Ken taught at the private fee paying All Souls St Gabriels School, which Andrew attended. He showed sporting prowess from a very early age. "Dad was cricket mad. He’d throw balls to me five or six days a week, before school, after school. And we’d play all sorts of games inside the house with ping-pong balls and Christmas decorations." Much of his junior cricket was played in Townsville for the Wanderers club, father and son making the 270-kilometre return trip sometimes twice a week. The family later moved to the Gold Coast, where his parents were on the staff of All Saints Anglican School in Merrimac. Symonds was a student at the school.
Symonds is an aggressive right-handed batsman who can also bowl off spin or medium pace, making him a good all-rounder. He is an exceptional fielder, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the fifth equal most run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fourth highest success rate. He is very agile for his size and weight (medium-heavy build; 187 cm tall), has excellent reflexes, is able to take catches well and has a powerful and accurate throwing arm. His nickname is Roy, shortened from the name Leroy, after a coach from early in his career believed he resembled local Brisbane NBL hero Leroy Loggins. He was an AIS Australian Cricket Academy scholarship holder in 1994. In 1995, after playing in his first season for English county Gloucestershire, Symonds won the Cricket Writer's Club Young Cricketer of the Year award. Shortly afterwards Symonds was selected as part of the England A team that was to tour Pakistan in the winter, however, he decided not to go, instead choosing to pursue an international career for Australia. His place on the tour was later taken by Middlesex player, Jason Pooley.
Since making his debut for the Queensland state team in the 1994–95 season Symonds has scored more than 5,000 runs and taken more than 100 wickets for his state. Symonds scored 113 and took four wickets in a losing cause in the Sheffield Shield final in 1999 and was named Man of the Match in the 2002 Pura Cup final after scoring 123 runs and taking six wickets.
Symonds has played for four English counties during his career—Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire and Surrey. Symonds first appearance for an English county was with Gloucestershire. Initially he was considered an England-qualified player, however, following his first season of county cricket in 1995 he declared that his allegiances lay with Australia when he chose not to tour Pakistan with the England A team.
In August 1995, he hit a record 16 sixes in his unbeaten 254 against Glamorgan at Abergavenny. In doing so, he beat the previous mark set by New Zealand's John R. Reid. Wisden reported that the 16th six "landed on a tennis court about 20 feet (6.1 m) over the boundary" and "though he was undoubtedly helped by the short boundaries, it would have been a hugely effective innings on any ground in the world". Symonds added four more sixes in the second innings, to beat the old record of 17 in a match, set by Warwickshire's Jim Stewart against Lancashire at Blackpool in 1959.
Between 1999 and 2004 Symonds played for Kent. One of the highlights of his time there came on 2 July 2004, when he hit a 43-ball 112 for Kent Spitfires in a Twenty20 Cup match against Middlesex Crusaders.
In July 2005 he signed for Lancashire for the rest of the English season having finished duties as part of Australia's ODI squad.
In April 2010 he signed for Surrey to play in the Friends Provident t20 competition.
On 20 February 2008 Symonds signed up with the IPL franchise Deccan Chargers from Hyderabad for US$1,350,000 which made him the second most expensive player in the league at that time. The same team also secured Australian team-mate Adam Gilchrist for US$700,000. The IPL commenced on 18 April 2008. On 24 April 2008 Symonds made 117 not out off 53 balls against the Rajasthan Royals. The Royals ended up winning that match as Symonds bowled the last over and conceded 19 runs when the Royals required 17 runs from six balls.
Symonds missed most of the second season of the IPL due to International commitments. However, he played a crucial part in the triumph of his team towards the end of the season.
Symonds started the third season convincingly scoring two 50s in his first three games with the Mongoose Cricket Bat.
In the fourth season, Symonds was contracted by Mumbai Indians for US$850,000.
Although Symonds was originally qualified to play for England due to it being the country of his birth, and West Indies due to his ancestry, in 1995 he decided that he wished to pursue an international career for Australia instead. His international debut came on 10 November 1998, when he played in a One Day International (ODI) for Australia against Pakistan at Lahore. As an ODI player, he is known for scoring runs at an excellent strike rate of over 90, with a highest score of 156.
However, at the start of his international career, Symonds struggled to make an impact with the bat and ball, although his fielding was of high quality, and was not a regular member of the playing XI. He cemented his place in the team in Australia's opening match of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, having been controversially given a lifeline before the start of the tournament when captain Ricky Ponting publicly called for his selection in the team after allrounder Shane Watson had to withdraw due to injury. Australia had no choice but to pick Symonds after their squad was depleted at the start of the campaign; Shane Warne was sent home after failing a drugs test, Darren Lehmann was still serving a suspension for racial abuse, and Michael Bevan was injured.
In the first match against Pakistan, Symonds scored 143* to guide Australia from 4/86 to 8/310, and Australia went on to a heavy victory and won all their matches to claim the World Cup. Following this breakthrough series, Symonds became consistently effective and a core member of the ODI team. Symonds is sometimes branded as a one-day International 'specialist' as his ODI record with both ball and bat are far better than that of his Test match averages.
In March 2004, Symonds made his long-awaited Test debut in Australia's tour of Sri Lanka after showing great form in One Day International cricket in 2003. The decision was regarded as speculative and based on ODI form rather than a proven track record in first-class cricket, and he replaced Simon Katich, who had scored a century and unbeaten fifty in Australia's previous Test.
Playing as a batsman, Symonds encountered difficulty against Muttiah Muralitharan on the dusty, spinning Sri Lankan tracks, failing to pass 25 in any of his four innings, and was dropped after two Test matches in favour of Katich. Australia then continued to pursue their policy of selecting six specialist batsmen in the longer form of the game, and Symonds was not recalled in that time.
He was recalled in November 2005 following the injury to Shane Watson, as Australia's search for an all-rounder continued. After five Tests, with a batting average of 12.62 and a bowling average of 85.00, his position in the team was under a cloud until the 2005 Boxing Day Test. On the first day of the match, he was out caught behind for a golden duck. Then, with his batting average threatening to drop under 10 and bowling average pushing 100, Symonds took 3/50 in the South African first innings before blasting 72 off 54 balls in the second innings (including a new Australian record for the fastest Test fifty—40 balls) and taking 2/6.
At the 2006 Allan Border Medal count, Symonds would have won the One Day player of the year award as he polled the most votes, but was ineligible due to a late night of drinking which led to him turning up still inebriated to a match against Bangladesh, after which he was suspended. Symonds won Player of the Series in the 2005–06 Australian VB Series.
While batting in the second Test in the Australian 2006 tour of South Africa, Symonds was struck in the face of his helmet by a bouncer off Makhaya Ntini. Symonds required four stitches on the inside of his upper lip. Struggling for reliable impact, Symonds was again dropped at the end of this series.
Following the retirement of Damien Martyn during the Ashes in 2006–07 Symonds was again recalled to the team. Scoring just 26 and 2 in his first Test back he found himself under pressure to justify his place in the team. In the Boxing Day Test Symonds faced his biggest challenge when arriving at the crease with Australia in deep trouble at 5/84. After a slow start to his innings he proceeded to score his maiden Test century, combining with his good friend Matthew Hayden to put on a 279 run partnership and bringing up the century with a six. Symonds was finally dismissed for 156.
Although selected in Australia's 15-member World Cup squad he was unavailable for selection for the first few matches because he ruptured his biceps while batting against England on 2 February 2007 in the Commonwealth Bank Tri Series. Surgery was performed and Symonds underwent extensive physical rehabilitation. As a result, he missed the remainder of that tournament as well as the Chappell–Hadlee Trophy in New Zealand while Australia suffered their longest losing streak in over a decade. Symonds remarkably made a relatively quick recovery after returning for Australia's win in their last preliminary World Cup match against South Africa. He bowled the final ball of the 2007 Cricket World Cup that was hosted in the West Indies.The final was contested between Australia and Sri Lanka and was shortened to 38/36 overs per side due to rain throughout the day. Even the final few overs of the Sri Lanka innings were played in almost darkness.
In 2007, crowds at the One Day Series in Vadodara, Nagpur and Mumbai were seen to offend Symonds with monkey chants. After the BCCI initially denied the incident at Vadodara took place (claiming it was a confusion with worshipping Hanuman the monkey god), further incidents occurred at the other grounds in the series.
During Sri Lanka's tour of Australia in 2007–08 he had good form with the bat but had an ankle injury which ruled him out of the rest of the Test series.
During the second Test against India on 2 January 2008 Symonds completed his second Test century, coming to the crease with Australia at 4/119. When Michael Clarke (1) and then Adam Gilchrist (7) were dismissed in quick succession Australia found themselves in poor shape at 6/134. Symonds and Brad Hogg put on a record 7th wicket partnership at the S.C.G (also a record for Australia vs. India) of 173 until Hogg was dismissed for 79. Symonds was the beneficiary of some controversial decisions in the course of his innings. At stumps on the first day, Symonds was not out on 137, and Australia 376/7. By the end of the innings, Symonds finished on 162 not out, when the Australians were finally bowled out for 463. In January 2008, Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh received a three-match ban after a complaint that he had racially abused Symonds during the third day of the Second Test at the SCG. It was alleged that Harbhajan called Symonds a "monkey" after Symonds confronted him over touching fellow Australian player Brett Lee. The case was decided by the match referee, Mike Procter, in a hearing held after the match. The BCCI lodged an appeal against the decision. On 29 January 2008, after the hearing of the appeal, at Adelaide by ICC appeals commissioner John Hansen, the racism charge on Harbhajan Singh was not proved and the three Test ban was lifted. However, a lesser charge (Level 2.8 offence) of using abusive language was applied and Harbhajan was fined 50% of his match fee. Hansen later admitted that he "could have imposed a more serious penalty if he was made aware by the ICC of the bowler's previous transgressions"—including a suspended one Test Match ban. The ICC claimed the "database and human errors ... played a part in Harbhajan Singh escaping a more severe penalty during his appeal hearing in Adelaide". Hansen also criticised Symonds in his report accusing him of swearing at Harbhajan after a friendly gesture by the Indian bowler towards Brett Lee. It was also reported that senior players had written a letter to John Hansen requesting a downgrading of the charge. The letter was signed by Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting and counter-signed by Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Symonds. The stump microphone audio was removed immediately after the alleged incident between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds was released by Channel Nine.
In his 2013 autobiography At the Close of Play, Ricky Ponting expressed his disillusionment with Cricket Australia for failing to support Symonds, who, though the victim of abuse, was painted as a villain. Daniel Brettig notes how, "duly disillusioned", Symonds "drifted from the game via a series of disciplinary problems".
During the second final of the 2007–08 Commonwealth Bank Series against India on 4 March 2008, Symonds shoulder charged a male streaker who had entered the playing arena. Symonds, who had once considered a career in rugby league with the Brisbane Broncos, may have faced assault charges had the man taken legal action.
Symonds was set to play for Australia in the August 2008 series against Bangladesh in Darwin, but was sent home to Queensland after missing a team meeting while out fishing. Stand-in captain Michael Clarke told the media that Symonds would have to re-evaluate his desire to represent Australia: "The main concern from us is Andrew's commitment, to playing for this team and, in my opinion and I know the rest of the leadership team's opinion, you need to be committed 100 per cent." As a further punishment for his misadventure, Symonds was not selected for the Australian tour to India in October 2008.
After Australia lost the test series in India two-nil, Symonds was recalled for the test series against New Zealand in November 2008. He did not play any significant role in the first test, which Australia won. After the test, on 22 November, Symonds was reported to have been involved in a pub brawl with another patron who had attempted to hug him and have his photo taken with the cricketer. He was subsequently cleared by Cricket Australia to play in the second test. He then played in the first two tests of the next series against South Africa but performed poorly and was omitted from the team for the third test due to injury; at the same time, many critics called for his omission on performance grounds.
In January 2009, Symonds gave an interview with sports comedians Roy & HG, in which he made remarks about the acquisition of New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum by the New South Wales Blues to play in the KFC Twenty20 final against Victoria, despite McCullum's not having played at all for the Blues previously. Sounding intoxicated, Symonds called McCullum a "lump of shit", and declared that having dinner at the home of team-mate Matthew Hayden was enjoyable because he could glance at Hayden's wife. The interview led to his being charged with violating the Cricket Australia code of conduct. Following a hearing with general manager Michael Brown, he was fined $4,000, instructed to work with a psychologist, and indefinitely barred from selection until he was deemed to have been successfully rehabilitated.
In the meantime Symonds continued to play for Queensland, but was not selected by Australia, missing three five-match series against South Africa, New Zealand and South Africa respectively. He was finally recalled in April to play ODIs against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, but was not selected for the 2009 Ashes squad, with young all-rounders Shane Watson, Andrew McDonald and Marcus North being preferred.
In early June 2009, Symonds was sent home from the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England following "an alcohol-related incident". Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland called a press conference to announce Symonds' dismissal, which marked the end of his international cricket career. His Cricket Australia contract was also reviewed and later cancelled.
In June 2009, Symonds told Channel Nine's Sixty Minutes that he was not an alcoholic but a binge-drinker. "I go out and drink hard all in one hit — too fast, too much", he said.
Symonds has been a keen supporter of the Brisbane Broncos since childhood and was considering a switch to rugby league in 2002 when his cricket career was faltering, but ultimately decided to stay in cricket. On 21 June 2009 he played a game for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls against an all star team featuring some noted players including Marcus Bai and Steve Renouf. He has also trained with the Brisbane Broncos in the past. In 2011 he played in the inaugural 'Legend of Origin' match to support victims of the Queensland floods. He played for Queensland alongside such league legends as Gorden Tallis, Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers and Mal Meninga
Symonds was the first International Cricketer after Vinod Kambli to enter the Bigg Boss house. He made a wild card entry into the show. As speaking in English was strictly prohibited in the house, Pooja Misrra, one of the most controversial Indian contestants of Bigg Boss acted as a translator for Symonds.
He played himself in the 2011 Bollywood movie Patiala House, in which Akshay Kumar played the leading role.Tests
Debut: Against Sri Lanka Galle, 2003–04Best Test bowling figures: 3/50 (South Africa, Melbourne, MCG, 2005–06).
Best Test batting score: 162* (India, Sydney, SCG, 3 January 2008).
Debut: Against Pakistan, Lahore, 1998–99Best ODI bowling figures: 5/18 (Bangladesh, Manchester, Old Trafford, 2005)
Best ODI batting score: 156 (New Zealand, Wellington, Westpac Stadium, 7 December 2005)
Symonds holds the world records for the most sixes hit during a first-class innings (16) and during a first-class match (20), both set while playing for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan as a 20-year-old. His first innings score was 254 not out.
Andrew Symonds appeared on Cricket show Game on hai Show aired live during Pakistan vs England from 14 July 2016. Curtly Ambrose also joined him during the ODI series.
He has also made appearances as a guest commentator for the 2016–17 Australian Big Bash T20 Tournament including matches at the Gabba and WACA.