Melbourne:Indians at large may remain incensed at the perceived boorish behaviour of Andrew Symonds, but senior Indian Premier League (IPL) officials insist the Australian all-rounder will still be considered for selection in their Twenty20 competition's player draft this month.
Symonds has been criticised in the Indian media for his role in the Harbhajan Singh racial slur row, prompting suggestions that IPL franchises may overlook him to avoid enraging their supporters.
But Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and Kasi Viswanathan, a leading figure within the Chennai IPL franchise, said Symonds's signature was still coveted by the eight teams in competition.
"We believe what Symonds has done (during the Sydney Test) was wrong and should be viewed very seriously. But India is a cricket-loving country and we will not take things further than this," Shah was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. "He will still be welcome."
Viswanathan was also convinced that Symonds and his Australian teammates would be in demand at the IPL draft. "Definitely, we will bid on Australians," he said. "What happened in Sydney will not be a factor for us."
The Australians are yet to sign finalised IPL contracts, pending Cricket Australia and the players' representatives ironing out problem areas, including potential sponsorship clashes.
It is understood that the players have been set an initial deadline of Feb 8 to sign the deals. However, recent delays could push that date back by several weeks.
Symonds's agent, Matt Fearon, said his client still intended to participate in the IPL, despite the recent controversies involving the Indian team.
"He has signalled his intentions to play in the IPL, and to my knowledge that hasn't changed in any way, shape or form over the past few weeks," Fearon said.
"The contracts have yet to be cleared, but that is a separate matter. As far as what his intentions are, his view of the IPL has not changed."