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Michael Clarke pays tribute, relationship, fight, feud

“Devastated.”

In one word Michael Clarke expressed his sadness following the death of Andrew Symonds.

The former national captain posted a photo on Instagram of himself and Symonds holding the late Shane Warne on their shoulders following Australia’s Ashes whitewash in January, 2007.

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Clarke later posted a second photo of Clarke and Symonds ahead of a Boxing Day Test, and shared a photo of the two batting together with the caption: “Opposites attract… I loved nothing more than walking out to play for our country together. ”

Clarke also posted a number of times on Twitter, including where he responded to a user and said he “certainly did” buy Symonds a beer after playing a part in his unfortunate dismissal during a half-century against Sri Lanka in 2006.

Yet from best mates to former friends, the duo weren’t on speaking terms for more than a decade.

Michael Clarke’s post on Instagram.Source: FOX SPORTS

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Unlike former prime ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke, who are said to have put aside their differences before the latter’s passing on May 16, 2019, Clarke and Symonds never patched things up.

Just last month Symonds opened up on his soured relationship with Clarke on the Brett Lee Podcast.

For Symonds, who was one of the best ODI cricketers in the world following his breakthrough century in the 2003 World Cup, jealousy played a part following the riches on offer in the IPL.

Symonds was the perfect prototype for the modern T20 player.

A hard hitting batsman, Symonds could bowl seam up and useful off-spin. He was also the best outfielder in the world.

His all-round matchwinning talents netted him $1.8 million for the Deccan Chargers in the inaugural IPL in 2008.

“We became close. When he (Clarke) came into the side I used to bat with him a lot,” Symonds told Lee.

“So when he came into the side I really looked after him. That built a bond.

“Matthew Hayden said to me — when the IPL started, I got a pretty penny to go and play in the IPL — he identified it as there was a bit of jealousy that potentially came into the relationship (with Clarke) there.

“Money does funny things. It’s a good thing but it can be a poison and I reckon it may have poisoned our relationship.

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“I’ve got enough respect for him to probably not go into detail about what was said.

”My friendship with him is no longer and I’m comfortable with that, but I’m not gonna sit here and start slinging mud.”

Later in 2008, Symonds was sent home after missing a team meeting ahead of a series against Bangladesh. The then-33-year-old had decided to go fishing instead.

Clarke questioned his commitment to the national team.

“It came to a head because I missed the meeting yesterday,” stand-in captain Michael Clarke said.

“I guess the main concern for us is Andrew’s commitment to playing for this team. In my opinion, and I know in the rest of the leadership group’s opinion, you need to be committed 100 per cent. That’s all facets of being an international cricketer.

“We believe for the best interests of this team, for the best interests of Andrew Symonds (is for him) to have time away from the game. And let’s try and get him right as soon as possible to get him back in our team.

“Andrew was obviously very disappointed. He accepts our decision… I hope he goes away from this and gets himself right and gets himself back into our team because he is a very important player and we want him as a part of our squad.”

Less than a year later Symonds was sent home ahead of the 2009 T20 World Cup for another alcohol related incident.

His axing ended his international career.

“I don’t think Cricket Australia could have done any more for him,” captain Ricky Ponting said.

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“He’s been stood down on a number of occasions and he has been working through some processes off the field over the last 12-18 months to make himself better in different aspects of his life. He has had plenty of opportunities, that’s for sure. (Then-CEO) James Sutherland made it pretty clear it was an alcohol-related incident. We’re talking about commitments he made to himself and the team, so as much as anything he has let himself down, his teammates, and he’s let Cricket Australia down.”

Symonds said he felt let down by Clarke following the first incident.

Clarke said friendship was a “two-way” street, writing that Symonds resented him for being chosen as interim captain with Ponting missing the short-form series in 2008.

“Some former teammates will take his side, and feed his conviction that I let him down and put ambition ahead of mateship,” Clarke wrote in My Story.

“I would say that he let me down too — that if he had understood mateship as a two-way street, he would have seen that I had to do what was right for the whole team.”

But between the highly publicized moments of national embarrassment, there were also flare ups between Symonds and Clarke.

The most infamous one was on the tour of the West Indies in 2008, months after the “Monkeygate” incident and not before his gone fishing moment, where Symonds poured a drink over Clarke.

“I threw a drink on him. He didn’t tell me to go to bed, he said something else but I threw a drink on him and what he said to put me into a rage,” Symonds told News Corp senior journalist Robert Craddock during Fox Sports’ Cricket Legends series .

“What he said to me was nowhere near accurate and that immediate point is where he lost me and I lost him.

“Our friendship was destroyed in that moment.

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“He’d said to me, not in these words, but he’d suggested I was a selfish player and a selfish person. The one thing I don’t consider myself to be is that and that really annoyed me.”

Clarke, in his 2015 autobiography, has a different take on the moment.

“Brian mentions a funny incident in a game against Sri Lanka a few years ago, when Symmo hit the ball down the wicket, it smacked into my leg and rebounded in the air, and he was caught. As he walked off, he laughingly said to me, ‘You owe me a beer’,” Clarke wrote.

“We are laughing about it, but then suddenly something in Symmo’s brain snaps and he decides he’ll give me that drink now: he pours a glass of wine over my head. It’s a stunning moment. He’s frothing with anger, and Brian has to get between us before Symmo storms out.

“I don’t know for sure what he thinks. Despite my efforts to reconcile, he won’t talk to me again on the tour.”

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