Symonds mulls quitting international cricket

Andrew Symonds is mulling quitting international cricket after he was sent home by the CA for going on a 'fishing trip' instead of attending a team meeting

updated: September 06, 2008 08:47 IST
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Disillusioned Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds is mulling quitting international cricket after he was sent home by the Cricket Australia for going on a 'fishing trip' instead of attending a compulsory team meeting last week.

"I have been asked to think about what is important to me and I will take this time to do that," Symonds was quoted as saying by the 'Courier Mail' on Monday.

"I would ask that during this time, people respect my privacy and that of my friends and family," he said.

"I would like to say thanks for the many messages of support I have received over the past day or so," he added.

The 33-year-old player's decision would be of a great significance to the Australians as their team is set to tour India in October and the final squad would be picked in next two weeks.

Australia's stand-in skipper Michael Clarke has questioned Symonds' commitment and claimed he needed time away from the game to get his act together.

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

"There is a number of things that we believe as a leadership and a team that he wasn't fulfilling. That isn't just about on the field, that's off the field, that's attitude."

Symonds would lose his $500,000 CA contract if he quits the game but the highest-paid Australian player in the IPL can still earn handsomely in the Indian sub-continent by playing in the Indian Premier League or the Indian Cricket League.

It is not the first time Symonds has thought of quitting cricket.

He had contacted Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and talked about reinventing himself as a rugby league player in 2002.

Symonds also has a long history of disciplinary dramas, the most serious when he was nearly sent home from the Ashes in 2005 for turning up drunk for a one-dayer against Bangladesh in Cardiff.

He spent difficult 12 months when he felt he was let down by the CA over last summer's race row with India spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Harbhajan, who allegedly called Symonds a monkey during the SCG Test, eventually got off with a slap on the wrist after the charge was downgraded.

Symonds felt his employer had failed to use its muscle to ensure Harbhajan was given a just penalty.

NSW all-rounder Moises Henriques on Sunday joined the squad as a replacement for Symonds, but chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said he would only play in exceptional circumstances.

Shane Watson, who missed Saturday's opening match against Bangladesh because of calf soreness and is still feeling the effects of a toe he broke in the West Indies, is expected to be fit for Wednesday's ODI.

CA spokesman Peter Young said "We want to allow him to demonstrate he is committed to doing all those things you need to if you're to be part of the world's best cricket team".

Meanwhile, the Australian Cricketers Association are devising a strategy to assist Symonds to cope with the demands of being an elite cricketer which will include providing access to welfare counsellors.

Symonds' team members are also keen that the all-rounder is available for the series against Bangladesh.

Batsman Mike Hussey said Symonds was missed in Saturday's win over Bangladesh in the opening one-dayer.

"He's had success there and is a very good player of spin, and that is important," Hussey said and added "I hope (he can return). I certainly do. He's an integral part of the team, a great guy to have around.

"But we need him 100 per cent committed to the team, and I'm hoping he can sort out any issues he's got going on."

Symonds' latest disciplinary lapse has disappointed his two greatest allies, captain Ricky Ponting and Clarke, the acting skipper in Darwin. They, along with coach Tim Nielsen, decided enough was enough.

The leadership group had tired of several recent incidents, which showed Symonds put himself first.