Andrew Symonds' children have been made honorary members of the Australian cricket team in touching scenes during the first ODI against Zimbabwe in Townsville.
Symonds' death at 46 sent shockwaves around the global cricket community in May, leaving his young children Chloe and Billy without a father.
'THAT IS AWFUL': Australia savaged over 'putrid' act in first ODI
On Sunday, Australia and Zimbabwe played the first ever one-day international in Townsville at Riverway Stadium - where Symonds was farewelled in heartbreaking scenes three months ago.
To mark the historic occasion and pay tribute to cricket icon Symonds, the Australian side invited Chloe and Billy to be honorary members of the team for a day.
Symonds' young children walked out with the Australian side and stood with the players during the national anthems, while also running out the water during drinks breaks.
Chloe and Billy were also on hand to commemorate their late father during a touching ceremony during the change of innings in which Symonds' bat and baggy green cap were laid on the stumps.
Symonds' Test number and nickname 'Roy' were also displayed on the field throughout the match to honour his memory.
Andrew Symonds' family and friends laid some of his treasured items on the pitch as a tribute to him.
His fishing gear and hat, and then his baggy green was placed tenderly on the stumps by his son Billy.
What a sad, touching moment. ❤️#AUSvZIM pic.twitter.com/rGPtOwRIv7
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) August 28, 2022
"A really sad time obviously for Australian cricket over the last little while, it'll be nice to have some tributes and his family here and stuff like that," Australian captain Aaron Finch said before the game.
"For someone who was so laidback, his depth of knowledge of cricket and players was second-to-none.
"I think the larrikin tag was there but the deep knowledge of the game was outstanding as well."
The poignant scenes left cricket fans around the world with tears in their eyes.
Australians celebrate their heroes better than anyone else. Such an incredibly touching tribute to Andrew Symonds that. So wonderful to his beloved dogs accompanying the family #AusvZim https://t.co/HQP5pDEzwJ
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) August 28, 2022
Awesome to see Andrew Symonds kids carrying the drinks for the Aussies!!!
— Jack Perkins (@jack_perkins) August 28, 2022
Nice moment to see Andrew Symonds' children, Will and Chloe, running out the drinks to the Australians. #AUSvZIM
— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) August 28, 2022
— matthew retmock (@lameuerthe) August 28, 2022
— Katrina Garrard🌈 (@thekatrina28) August 28, 2022
Very good work from Cricket Australia👌👏🙏
Symonds' family would probably feel proud of him.
— Cricket Australia 🇦🇺🇦🇺🏏 (@Harpree21182174) August 28, 2022
Roy would be proud 🥰
— Miles Rajander (@MilesRajander) August 28, 2022
— Matthew Rid (@MattyRidIT) August 28, 2022
Symonds was killed when his car left the road and rolled in Hervey Range near where he lived - about 50km from Townsville in northern Queensland.
Symonds' wife Laura previously spoke of her devastation, not only for herself but for Chloe and Billy as well.
“We are still in shock,” she told the Courier Mail.
“I’m just thinking of the two kids. He was such a big person and there is just so much of him in his kids.”
Laura said her husband was “the most laid-back person”.
“Nothing stressed him out. He was an extremely chilled operator. So practical,” she said.
“He was never good with his phone but he always had time for everyone."
Symonds played 198 one-day internationals for Australia, as well as 26 Tests and 14 Twenty20 internationals.
Marnus Labuschagne dropped for first ODI
Australia won the toss and sent Zimbabwe in to bat in the first of three ODIs.
With some moisture in the pitch and windy and overcast conditions, Aussie skipper Aaron Finch said he was eager to see how the wicket shaped up in the first ODI ever played in the city.
The Aussies went with an allrounder-heavy lineup featuring two genuine quicks in Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc, Cameron Green as a third pace option and Adam Zampa as the sole specialist spinner.
Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell are the fifth bowling options, however there was no room for Marnus Labuschagne.
"The reasoning behind Marnus is we're just going with an allrounder-heavy side, so two quicks plus Zampa, plus Cameron Green as the fourth genuine bowler," Finch said on the eve of the match.
"Then using Marsh, Stoinis, Maxwell as our fifth bowler effectively.
"It's a way of lengthening our batting and I think it's important that we keep trying to juggle the structure of the team around a little bit over the next little while.
"We don't want to get pigeon-holed into playing in one particular structure of team, so that's that's the reason for it."
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