Coach not banking on Symonds in India

Australia coach Tim Neilsen said he was already resigned to losing the all-rounder for the India series and was unsure of his return to the team.

updated: September 06, 2008 08:49 IST
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Australia coach Tim Neilsen on Monday said he was already resigned to losing all-rounder Andrew Symonds for the India series and was unsure of his return to the team.

Time is running out for Symonds as the Kangaroos are gearing up for the year's most-anticipated Test series. Symonds, who has been one of the most valued members of the team, is still considering his future after his latest disciplinary lapse.

Symonds was sent back home for breaching team discipline. He opted to go on a fishing trip on Friday on the eve of the first ODI of Australia's three-match series 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.

Although his absence won't have any impact in the one-day series against Bangladesh, it could be felt during the series on the subcontinent, where Australia must have a proper plan in place to make up for his middle-order batting, offspin bowling and brilliant fielding.

Australia will announce a touring squad within weeks to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and besides not knowing who their front-line spinner would be, Nielsen is not counting on having Symonds at his disposal.

"I don't think we can at the moment, I don't think we can bank on much at all at the moment," Nielsen told AAP.

"The only thing we can bank on is providing as much support as we possibly can for him to make the right decision for him and for us, to come back into the group 100 per cent committed.

"But how long is a piece of string?

"I don't know if Roy (Symonds) would understand or know how long it's going to take. I certainly don't."

Nielsen said Symonds' absence would have ramifications on the team's planning for winning a four-match series in the toughest of frontiers.

"Oh yeah, we've lost our No. 6 batsman and our allrounder in the Test team for the short-term, so for sure," he said.

Meanwhile, Symonds told the Herald Sun, "I have been asked to think about what is important to me and I will take this time to do that".

"I would ask that during this time, people respect my privacy and that of my friends and family. I would like to say thanks for the many messages of support I have received over the past day or so."