Symonds' cricket career at crossroads - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Symonds' cricket career at crossroads

30/08/2008 07:52:00 PM Comments (0)

Andrew Symonds' Australian cricket career is at the crossroads after his two strongest allies told him he lacked commitment to the team because he went fishing.

Symonds was sent home from Darwin and will take no part in the one-day series against Bangladesh because he missed a compulsory team meeting because he was fulfilling his other passion.

While his teammates were playing the first game in the Top End, the 33-year-old arrived home in Brisbane - wearing casual clothes, not team uniform - and was whisked out of the airport with the aid of security.

Team hierarchy believed the allrounder's fishing trip smacked of putting himself first and came as the final straw after a handful of recent incidents which made them question his duty.

Captain Ricky Ponting, who urged selectors to stick with Symonds early in his career, and Michael Clarke, who helped his mate in two scrapes, decided the Queenslander's recent actions commanded punishment.

While not in the same league as showing up for a game drunk, which Symonds did in Cardiff in 2005, and wanting to fight a rugby player in South Africa in 2006, the latest indiscretion has put his brilliant playing career in jeopardy.

Cricket Australia (CA) operations manager Michael Brown confirmed Symonds had been told before that his playing contract would be torn up if he was ever involved in another serious incident.

Although this latest indiscretion was not serious, Clarke and CA officials said Symonds had to regain the respect of his teammates before he could play again.

Clarke, who tried to revive his friend after his night out in the Welsh capital and also steered him away from potential trouble in a Cape Town nightclub a year later, said he wanted Symonds back.

But not if he wasn't prepared to toe the line.

"It's so hard to play for this team. In my opinion we are the greatest sporting team in the world, and we have standards," said Clarke, the acting skipper in Darwin in Ponting's absence.

"They may be higher than other teams, but if you don't fulfil those standards, unfortunately, you're not going to be a part of our squad."

"The main concern for us is Andrew's commitment to playing for this team.

"In my opinion and the rest of the leadership group's opinion, you need to be committed 100 per cent to all facets of being an international cricketer."

Symonds' drinking binge the night before Australia played Bangladesh on the 2005 Ashes tour earned him a two-game suspension and nearly resulted in him being sent home.

It also preceded one of the biggest upsets in cricket, although Australia ensured history did not repeat by thrashing the minnow by 180 runs in the first game at TIO Stadium.

Australia scheduled an optional training session on Friday, but attendance at a pre-game meeting was compulsory.

Once Symonds did not attend, Clarke, coach Tim Nielsen and Ponting - via teleconference - ruled his absence the final straw after a "number of" recent examples of questionable commitment levels from a senior player.

CA would not specify what Symonds' attitude issues were, but dismissed suggestions part of the reason he was sent home was based on alcohol consumption.

Nielsen said the leadership group acted with a lot of "heartache", but because Symonds' actions were not team-oriented.

"He wasn't organised enough to understand his commitments that day," Nielsen said.

"That to me raises concerns about how and what sort of space he is in, in his own mind and that's the discussion we had with him."

While Symonds remains in demand on-field, Brown said it was too early to say whether he would be part of the tour to India, which leaves next month.

He said CA, Queensland Cricket, the Australian Cricketers' Association, and Symonds' family and manager would aim to get him back in the team.

This is not Symonds' first fishing-related drama, as he and teammate Matthew Hayden had to swim back to shore when their boat sank off Stradbroke Island in 1999.

Australia are yet to announce Symonds' replacement in Darwin.

Symonds' manager Matt Fearon declined to comment.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news