CA discusses Symonds' mental state

Cricket Australia officials held serious discussions on the mental state of the all-rounder after he was sent back home for breaching team discipline.

updated: September 03, 2008 08:18 IST
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The enigma called Andrew Symonds is giving a tough time to Cricket Australia (CA) board members, who held serious discussions on the mental state of the all-rounder after he was sent back home for breaching team discipline.

Symonds opted to go on a fishing trip Friday on the eve of Australia's ODI against Bangladesh in Darwin, skipping a compulsory team meeting. Symonds knew that the meeting was on but still decided to go ahead on the expedition. The all-rounder also bypassed an optional training session in the afternoon following which he was sent back home.

Symonds had faced a similar action in 2005 Ashes tour after he turned up drunk for a match. But he was then let-off with two match suspension and a warning.

CA board members held an emergency conference call Saturday to discuss the Symonds issue, but have opted not to follow through on a threat in 2005 to tear up his $500,000 contract should he overstep the line again, according to a report in Sunday Telegraph.

CA officials were adamant alcohol was this time not behind Symonds' absence, which will see him miss the three-match series and has left a cloud over his participation in the tour of India next month.

It has come out that missing the team meeting was not the only offence which warranted such action against Symonds but there was more to it than meets the eye.

"Missing a team meeting is not a hanging offence. We have focused on a duty of care for Andrew and we are concerned about his mental welfare. He had a long and demanding summer," a CA source said.

Symonds was struggling to cope with his life in the public eye after a tumultuous year that saw him under fire from the Indian team in the ugly Harbhajan Singh "monkey" race row, sources said.

CA also lost patience with Symonds over his on-field behaviour and repeated public comments and controversial newspaper columns on Harbhajan and the scrapped tour of Pakistan.

Capping off a tumultuous summer, he also became the highest-paid superstar in the glamorous Indian Premier League.

"From my understanding, it's just literally a case of something that's been happening for a while and wanting to address it. It is concerns for his well-being. Obviously he's been through some challenging times with (what happened) last summer," said his manager Matt Fearon.

It's understood the Australian team leadership group of captain Michael Clarke, vice-captain Mike Hussey, coach Tim Nielsen and team manager Steve Bernard told Symonds Friday "enough is enough" when he was hauled before a disciplinary hearing, the report said.

There were suggestions that Symonds was dismissive of the group's hardline stance, which could have compounded his woes.

Symonds, who arrived home in Brisbane last night, was scheduled to have a briefing with his manager Fearon.

"It's not a reaction to a behavioural issue. It's concerns about his well-being and that's really what they are addressing," Fearon said.