New England white ball coach Matthew Mott has paid tribute to his “great mate” Andrew Symonds following his tragic death at the age of just 46.
Symonds, who represented Australia more than 200 times across all formats, died in a car accident earlier this month. The all-rounder was involved in a single car accident 50 kilometres from his home in Townsville.
And Mott was close friends with Symonds, with the pair playing club cricket together and then becoming teammates at Queensland. After he was officially unveiled as England white ball coach, Mott said: “Since the excitement of accepting this role, I, like many people around the world, have been trying to come to terms with the tragic loss of my great mate Andrew Symonds.
“The support of his beautiful family and close friends in the coming days will be vitally important, so I respectfully request some time to process his passing and the immense loss before making any further comment on the role at this stage.”
Mott also spoke of his excitement at taking charge of “such an established and successful team under the astute leadership of Eoin Morgan” and outlined his plans to “maintain, then enhance, the success they have started to build over the past few years”.
He said: “Whilst I am Australian, I have deep connections, and several of my closest friends are in the UK, having spent considerable time in Scotland, Wales and England, both as a player and coach.
“When this role became available, I was attracted by the chance to work with such an established and successful team under the astute leadership of Eoin Morgan and now Rob Key, whom I have always admired as an excellent cricket mind.
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“The idea of the split roles and the chance to work alongside Brendon McCullum in his red-ball role is an opportunity that I am incredibly enthusiastic about and certainly provides the right balance for my family as we embark on this exciting journey.
“It was always going to take something special to leave the role that I have loved for the past seven years with the Australian Women’s team. However, I genuinely believe that the time is right to play a role in helping the England Men’s ODI and T20 group continue to evolve as one of the best teams in the world.
“I am fully aware that this team has been functioning well and part of my initial plan is to work with the playing group and support staff on how we can firstly maintain, then enhance, the success they have started to build over the past few years. “