Shane Warne never got a chance to make good on his offer to Andrew Symonds – but a revelation about how much the Spin King valued his former team-mate illustrates why his death is so painful for the cricketing world.
Tributes pour in as people pay their respects to Symonds the man and Symonds the cricketer, echoing his dead on Saturday night in car accident outside Townsville†
He was a great batter and an incredible fielder, but so many of the stories shared in the wake of the tragedy focused on how loyal and genuine Symonds was as a friend.
A story from Aussie Test legend Adam Gilchrist sheds light on how highly Symonds was rated by Warne, who offered the all-rounder a job on the London Spirit coaching staff for The Hundred competition in England.
Warne – who was named head coach of the franchise before joining died of a heart attack in Thailand in March — wild bring Symonds and former Victorian wicket-keeper Darren Berry on board as assistants†
What Symonds didn’t know until recently was that Warne intended to pay for the all-rounder out of pocket because the Spirit didn’t have room for an extra assistant in their budget.
“He was so upset about losing Warnie. Everyone was and was amazed.
“Just a little something Roy told me last week – Warnie was talking about becoming an assistant coach at the London Spirit at The Hundred competition there in England.
“And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Roy found out there was no budget set aside for him. Nothing was documented in the London Spirit setup.
“Warnie did that of his own accord and would pay Roy whatever wages he would get for being there and Roy couldn’t believe it.
“That sense of friendship and camaraderie has been all Roy has built his whole life around, of trust and loyalty.
“Here we are a few days later, after he relayed that story to me, he’s gone.
“He was loyal to a mistake, really.”
Continuing with how the cricketing world has reacted to Symonds’ tragic death, Gilchrist added to Triple M: “I talked to friends yesterday, did a few interviews, reflected – and very rarely came back to his sporting prowess.
“It was all about him and his warmth and his humility and he just took care of everyone.
“Gosh, he made you laugh. He was just an absolute crackerjack, naturally funny guy that half the time he didn’t even know he was doing it.”
Symonds and Warne were great friends and became even closer when they retired when they shared the comment box at Fox Sports.
Speaking after the shock of the leg spin legend’s death, Symonds told Fox: “My friendship with Shane just grew and grew over the years and he was so generous to me. I’ve been through some rough times and I called him and if he didn’t answer, he called me right back.
“I’ve been doing quite a bit of (commenting) work with him over the past three years and recently he called me – probably 10 days (before Warne died) and I was home getting ready to go fishing. And he said, ‘I have good news for you, Roy.
“Remember how we talked about this coaching thing for the London Spirit?” He said, ‘I have the job for you’.
“And I was really looking forward to coaching Shane Warne. No. 1 to see how he handled it and then of course to learn.
“He said, ‘Do you want to dip your toe in the water with coaching? You seem to know the game very well and you describe things very well to me, so would you like to give it a try?’
“So behind that, that opportunity presented itself and unfortunately I won’t be able to live that with him.”
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