No further action against Symonds
A statement from Bob Merriman, chairman of Cricket Australia, has allayed fears that Andrew Symonds might lose his playing contract in the wake of his disciplinary indiscretions last weekend. Despite his match-turning heroics with bat and ball against England on Thursday, an Australian newspaper had reported that top officials were debating whether or not to take additional disciplinary action after his well- documented night on the tiles in Cardiff last Friday.
Ricky Ponting, the captain, had not commented on the matter subsequently, apart from expressing his delight over having Symonds back in the squad, and no reaction was forthcoming from James Sutherland, CA's chief executive, who was in London for a meeting of the International Cricket Council. However, Bob Merriman, the board chairman, while suggesting that a fresh look would be needed at behavioural codes for players, said: "The majority of directors have concluded there should be no further action against Symonds."
The tour management had fined him and suspended him for two matches, but Cricket Australia still haven't drawn a line under an incident which precipitated the shambolic defeat against Bangladesh at Sophia Gardens. According to The Australian, the manner in which the punishment was dealt with, and also the circumstances under which information about Symonds'all-night binge was leaked to the media, are to be scrutinised.
The article quoted a board source as saying that some within the organisation had raised the question of whether Symonds had been in breach of contract, since Section 7.1 of the players' contract clearly states: "the player agrees to perform his services under this contract diligently, faithfully and with utmost integrity". It goes on to mention that the individual has agreed "to keep himself fit and in first-class physical condition to enable him to play to the best of his ability in all matches for which he is selected".
Ponting, John Buchanan and Steve Bernard - captain, coach and manager - had decided to fine Symonds and suspend him for two games after a disciplinary hearing following the defeat to Bangladesh. And according to the newspaper, a team meeting which had preceded that had seen a senior player emphasise the importance of players adhering to the terms of the Spirit of Cricket pledge.
However, the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) had insisted that it would seek legal advice should there be any attempt to cancel Symonds' contract. "I'm very, very surprised at Cricket Australia's further contemplation of this issue as far as the player is concerned," said Tim May, the ACA chief executive, quoted by AFP. "The issue has been dealt with. Do we propose to penalise this bloke twice? Why the directors are taking it further is beyond me."