Having climbed to the top of cricket's Everest, Andrew Symonds found himself caught in a number of avalanches in 2008-09.
It appeared all clear and calm in the winter of 2008 when he continued his Test run glut in the Caribbean.
Quality and match-defining innings of 70 not out and 79 in first Test at Sabina Park were followed by scores of 18 and 43 not out in Antigua, and 52 and 2 in Bridgetown.
Having hammered India, Sri Lanka and England in the preceding three series, Symonds had become firmly entrenched as one of the premier batsmen in world cricket.
However, during preparations for the one-day series against Bangladesh in Darwin in late August, he missed a team meeting after going fishing and was sent home. It led to him being passed over for the Australian Test and ODI tour of India.
Symonds returned for the Test series against New Zealand, where he made 26 and 20 in his second ever Test on his home ground at the Gabba, and 0 in Adelaide.
He looked to be returning to form with 57 and 37 against South Africa in the first Test in Perth after a lean run with Queensland at Shield level, but was troubled by a worsening knee injury in the second Test in Melbourne, where he made 26 and 0, and could not bowl.
He underwent minor knee surgery early in the New Year and missed the third Test.
Following a program agreed to by Cricket Australia, he was not considered for national duties for the 10-match ODI series against South Africa and New Zealand, and it meant he could not be considered for selection for the ultimately triumphant tour of South Africa where a young Australian side upset their hosts 2-1 in the Test series.
It also gave the XXXX GOLD Bulls the services of Symonds for eight of their 11 Shield games. It yielded just 197 runs at 15.15 and one half-century, although his influence in the dressing room was profound and he was a great sounding board for skipper Chris Simpson.
He played six of the 11 Ford Ranger Cup games for 147 runs at 24.50 and just the one wicket, but was a member of the championship winning team.
Symonds also played in the Shield final, where his bowling kept the Bulls in the game with 4-48 off 24 overs, but only made 14 when Queensland batted.
He joined an exclusive club when he became the 13th member of the group of Queenslanders to have played 100 first class games for the State, doing so against NSW at the Gabba in March 2009.
Symonds had scored 5725 runs for his state at the end of 2008-09, including 14 centuries, and had made 1977 runs in the one-day arena from 84 matches.
Symonds has been a matchwinner in one Shield final for the Bulls, dominating Tasmania in the 2001-02 championship decider at the Gabba. He top scored with 91 in the first innings, grabbed two top order wickets for 20, made 32 in the second dig, and then snared 4-45 to cap a brilliant all round game.
It was just the sort of performance that eventually saw no player in Australia generate the amount of excitement that Symonds did when he walked out to bat.
He rocketed to cult hero status in the one-day form of the game in 2004, but 2007-08 was a watershed year as he built on the substantial progress made in late 2006-07 to virtually doubled his Test batting average from 20-40.
With Australian having a rare winter without Test cricket, it did not slow the momentum that Symonds had generated in the final two Tests of the 06-07 Ashes series.
He played his first Test on his home ground at the Gabba against Sri Lanka in November 2007 and caressed a stylish 53 not out off 61 balls in Australia's only innings. He chimed in with 1-10 and 1-21 with limited overs at the bowling crease.
He followed that up with an unbeaten 50 off 71 balls in the second Test in Hobart, but was not required to bowl after injuring himself running between the wickets.
Symonds was fine for the Boxing Day Test against arch rivals India and made a fluent 35, before exploding in Sydney. With Australia in trouble at 6-134, he pummeled 162 not out to help the side to 463.
He courted controversy, however, by admitting in the press conference after the second day of the match that he had edged a catch behind when on 30, the umpire turning down the appeal.
Symonds went on to take three valuable wickets on the final day to finish with 3-51 as Australia conjured victory in the shadows of stumps to take an unbeatable 2-1 series lead.
With the Australian players' antics questioned by many of their own supporters, Symonds was more subdued in Perth, but he still top scored in the first innings with 66.
Symonds finished the series tied in the aggregate on 418 runs with close mate Matthew Hayden, and chipped in with nine handy wickets.
He was not as destructive in the Commonwealth Bank one-day series, which was a relief to India after he slaughtered them on home soil in the seven-match series on the sub-continent in October 2007.
Symonds was dynamite, blasting 87, 89, 75 and 107no in consecutive innings to be the highest runscorer of the tournament.
However, he was again at the centre of controversy after some fiery early exchanges with Sreesanth. In the latter matches Indian crowds were accused of making insulting monkey gestures towards Symonds.
The controversy lingered all summer, with Symonds accusing Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a monkey during the Sydney Test.
After Harbhajan was initially suspended by the match referee, he was allowed to play on appeal and was eventually virtually exonerated by a panel that sat after the final Test in Adelaide. The fallout, where the Australian team believed they received a serious lack of support from their own Board, saw a gulf open between the playing group and Cricket Australia management.
There was a gold-plated lining to the end of the 2007-08 season for Symonds, who was 'auctioned' to the Hyderabad-based Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League for a staggering $1.4million per season. He made one century in his limited tenure with the Chargers but his high priced team struggled.
It came after a 2006-07 season where Symonds was able to make that final giant leap of faith and establish himself in the Test team.
It took several strokes of fortune for it all to even occur. Firstly, first choice Australian all-rounder and teammate Shane Watson broke down twice with hamstring problems in the lead-up and during the Ashes series, ultimately not being fit to play a game. Then middle order batsman Damien Martyn stunned the country by hurriedly retiring after the Second Test in Adelaide.
With some calling for NSW opener Phil Jaques to be included, and West Australian Adam Voges added to the national squad, Symonds narrowly earned the nod on the selectors' desire to continue to find a quality all-rounder.
Scores of 26 and two in the Perth Test were hardly worldbeaters, but Symonds did take 2-8 from four overs in an impressive short first innings spell. The selectors maintained the faith for the 2006-07 Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and were repaid in full.
With Australia languishing at 5-84 in their first innings, Symonds blasted 156 and compiled a gamebreaking 279-run partnership with Bulls teammate and friend Matthew Hayden. It was easily the biggest partnership at Test level by two Queenslanders.
Symonds batted with great composure throughout the innings, and his whoops of joy and leap into Hayden's arms after powering a towering six over the sightscreen to register his breakthrough century will long be remembered by all those who saw it.
While it was Shane Warne's' farewell 'home' Test, it was very much a welcome to the big time for Symonds.
He struck another composed 48 in the following Test in Sydney to show he has unlocked the door to playing the right game in the cauldron of the Test arena.
He continued to be a threat in the international one-day game and averaged 43.5 during the Australian summer ODI series against England and New Zealand, before tearing the bicep muscle from the bone on the eve of the finals in January 2007.
His loss certainly contributed to Australia's downfall in the finals against England, and he made a remarkable recovery to play in Australia's third game of the World Cup against South Africa in mid-March.
Symonds finished with 189 runs at 63 in the World Cup, with Australia going through their 11 matches unbeaten. He made 23 not out off 21 balls in the final against Sri Lanka as Australia made 4-281 in Bridgetown, and took 1-6 off two overs bowling in near dark.
As a teenager, Symonds was wildly gifted, but there were fears he would not enjoy fulfillment as there were too many shots and too many options. Carried by the buzz of boundaries, his demise would often come as he attempted to launch another ball into another suburb.
He began to make better choices with maturity and it paid off spectacularly as his muscle dominated the globe's best teams. Until 2003, Symonds had been in and out of the national one-day side in a similar manner as his State team-mates Michael Kasprowicz and Andy Bichel.
He had played 54 matches for two half-centuries, considered asking Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett for a shot at rugby league and, following a poor one-day tri-series, did not expect to win a place at the 2003 World Cup.
Again, an injury to Watson, who is still a friend and opponent for the national all-rounder's berth, and a hunch from Ricky Ponting allowed Symonds' passage to South Africa for a tournament that would change his life.
Arriving with Australia 4-86 in their first match against Pakistan, Symonds batted with Ponting, his supportive captain, to stabilise the innings and then battered at a rarely seen level as he toyed with Waqar, Wasim and Shoaib to blast his maiden one-day century. With 18 fours and two sixes, Symonds remained unbeaten on 143 from 125 balls, the highest score by an Australian at a World Cup at that point in time, and Australia reached 310 on the way to a comfortable victory.
He would play crucial roles throughout the tournament, including an unbeaten 91 in the semi-final against Sri Lanka, and was a central figure in the trophy-winning success. Since that final in Johannesburg, Symonds has been a first-choice limited-overs player and the only blemishes have come with a two-game suspension in England in 2005 and a nagging thigh injury in South Africa.
Totaling 864 runs at 50.82 in 2005-06, he also gathered 21 wickets in 22 games. They are figures that show him as arguably the side's most important player, an assessment which comes without a calculation to gauge his fielding and catching.
Symonds announced himself to the international market during a stint at the English county Gloucestershire when he was 20. Playing against Glamorgan, he thrashed a world-record 16 sixes in his 254 at Abergavenny and added another four in the second innings to set another new mark for sixes in a match. The performance, coupled with the 108 he had taken off the Ashes tourists the previous summer for the Bulls at Toowoomba, began a push for Symonds, who was born in Birmingham, to play for England, but he wanted only to bat for Australia.
He won a one-day debut in Pakistan in 1998 and waited another six years for his first Test, which came as an all-rounder in Sri Lanka. Appearing in two matches without success, he was recalled in 05-06 as the national selectors looked at ways to mirror the brutal 2005 Ashes performances of Andrew Flintoff.
The best of his eight consecutive matches came at the MCG in December 2005 as he fought to prove he could star under the Baggy Green. Walking out with his spot under threat, he planted his first scoring shot for six and posted another four to earn a ground record for maximums on the way to 72 from 54 balls. Another bright half-century was raised in South Africa, where he also received a split lip from a mean Makhaya Ntini bouncer, but Symonds was cut from the Test outfit in Bangladesh.
He scored a first ball duck and took 0-41 off eight overs against SA in the one-dayer at the Gabba in December, but made a solid contribution with 44 and 57 at the SCG in October 2007 against a Test strength NSW attack.
His figures for the Bulls in 2006-07 were not quite as impressive as 05-06, when he scored an equal Bulls career best 163 against South Australia and took four wickets, but he was just as effective.
Symonds' 3-18 and 2-96 against WA at the WACA were all key wickets that contributed heavily to the Bulls' first win of the summer, and his first innings 62 against Victoria on a difficult wicket helped rescue the Bulls from a seemingly impossible position.
He debuted for Queensland in the 1994-95 season, playing four Shield matches before heading to England and blasting almost 1500 runs in a County season.
After three seasons of inconsistency, his fourth Australian summer brought four centuries and 809 runs and the attention of the Australian selectors. It was his most bountiful summer for the Bulls, although he continued to score heavily in England during the Australian off-season.
In 2004-05 he produced four half-centuries in six innings in the one-day domestic competition and averaged 84.7. His 31-ball half century against Tasmania is the second quickest for a Queenslander and his 33-delivery effort of 2001-02 comes in fourth.
Symonds also lives at a high-energy pace off the field and lists his favourite hobbies as hunting and fishing. His preferred reading is the magazine Bacon Busters. "The thrill of the chase got me hooked," he said in 2004. "I'd be living in the country, hunting and fishing all the time if it was not for cricket." Sometimes the two lifestyles cross over, like they did when he turned up for contract talks with the former Cricket Australia chief executive Malcolm Speed in a cowboy hat and bare feet.
On and off the field, Symonds is full of entertaining surprises.
He released an autobiography in association with Queensland Cricket media manager Stephen Gray in October 2006 which turned into a bestseller with three re-runs, and he penned a second book in late 2008.