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September 1, 2008
Australia cannot assume Andrew Symonds will take part in their Test tour of India in October and are planning for potentially being without the allrounder, according to the coach Tim Nielsen. Symonds is pondering his future after being sent home from the Bangladesh series in Darwin because he missed a team meeting to go fishing.
Nielsen was one of the members of the team leadership group that made the tough decision to remove Symonds from the squad. He said Symonds' ongoing behaviour had raised concerns about his frame of mind and under the circumstances it was impossible to bank on having Symonds for the India trip.
"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% 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."
Australia are less than a month from departing for India, where they will aim to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after beating India 2-1 at home in 2007-08. That series was played in often strained circumstances, partly due to a racism row featuring Symonds and Harbhajan Singh.
For the time being, Nielsen said Australia were being forced to rework their plans for the rematch due to the uncertainty over Symonds' future. "Oh yeah," he said, "we've lost our No. 6 batsman and our allrounder in the Test team for the short-term, so for sure."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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