Countless hours of hitting ping pong balls, Christmas decorations and of course, cricket balls, has paid off for the Wanderers first home grown Australian cricket squad member, Andrew Symonds.
Speaking from their Merrimac workplace, (on Queensland's Gold Coast) proud parents Ken and Barbara Symonds were excited by their eldest son's inclusion in Australia's one-day squad and gave some insight into his background.
Born in England to West Indian parents, Andrew was three months old when he was adopted by the Symonds. Barbara had asked the adoption agency for an active child, little did she know just how active a boy they had chosen! She said that Andrew loved nothing better than to hit ping pong balls and old round Christmas decorations in mock cricket matches with his father. Ken said Andrew was a natural sportsman, had shown obvious ball skills from the age of three or four and pestered him constantly to bowl ball after ball. Ken recognised that at the age of nine Andrew needed greater extension than the local Charters Towers under age cricket competition could provide. To assist his son's development Ken drove the three-hour round trip to Townsville's Wanderers Cricket Club each Saturday for five years to allow Andrew to play in a better competition. Barbara said Andrew had always been an outdoors child and had preferred games to television.
Now Andrew Symonds, the man has an opportunity to show the world how the years of fun and family games have contributed to his batting skills. The elevation of the aggressive 24 year old batsman to the One Day squad ranks Symonds among the best 25 one day players in the country. Symonds is not a stranger to international competition having fielded for injured Australian, Tom Moody, in the 1998 One Day match against Pakistan. He did not get an opportunity to bat in that game.
Ken and Barbara are no doubt hoping Andrew gets the chance to use the batting skills he developed at home as a boy and later honed as one of the Queensland Bull's big hitters.
This article was found on the Bond University newsletter site & is dated May, 1998.