Australian news January 27, 2009

Symonds to face hearing over McCullum comment

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Symonds has been no stranger to controversy over the past six months © Getty Images

Andrew Symonds will learn of his fate at a code of behaviour hearing in Melbourne on Thursday after being reported by Cricket Australia for his comments about the New Zealand player Brendon McCullum. Symonds could face a fine or suspension over a radio interview in which he called the New Zealand player Brendon McCullum "a lump of s...".

"Given the importance of the tribunal hearing, it would be inappropriate to comment on the issue now a report has been made," Michael Brown, the acting chief executive of Cricket Australia, said on Tuesday. "Once the outcome of this hearing is finalised, Cricket Australia will be in a better position to assess issues relating to Andrew Symonds."

The controversial radio interview is the latest in a long line of off-field dramas involving Symonds. In the past six months alone he was axed from the national squad in Darwin for going on a fishing trip, undertook a rehabilitation programme, and then became involved in a bar-room incident after his Test comeback in Brisbane.

Symonds is currently preparing for his Sheffield Shield comeback on Friday after having knee surgery earlier this month. His Queensland coach Trevor Barsby said the state squad would offer him whatever support was required but that ultimately it was up to Symonds to understand the consequences of his behaviour.

"He is a big boy so he must realise that he has to take control of his own destiny," Barsby said in the Courier-Mail. "He has the full support of current and former players - and a direct line to some counsellors - but at the end of the day the buck stops with him.

"We can help him as much as possible but we can't babysit him. Roy needs to choose to do something about things and take ownership. He is a grown man and he's got to be aware of the consequences of his actions."

Symonds apologised for the McCullum comments and said he was trying to go along with the light-hearted nature of Roy and HG's radio show. He won the support of his former Queensland captain Jimmy Maher, who said the media reaction to the radio interview was over the top.

"I just think we are getting a bit precious aren't we? You'd swear he'd murdered someone the way some people are carrying on," Maher told the Australian. "It's not that big a deal. He came out and apologised. anyway, it was a light-hearted radio gig. Roy and HG say those sort of things all the time, that's the flavour of the show, it's a bit of carry-on and he hasn't meant anything by it."