Allrounder's troubled summer March 8, 2009

Symonds opens up on year from hell

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Symonds is not throwing in the towel © Getty Images

Andrew Symonds has revealed the depth of his lows during a troubled year that involved twice being suspended from Australia's teams. Symonds, who has also battled a knee injury and various off-field controversies, said he had experienced "bad days and really bad days" during the summer, including bouts of binge drinking.

"They didn't sit me down and tell me I was diagnosed with depression,'' Symonds told the Sunday Telegraph. "But I was affected somehow ... I had bad days and really bad days, and then I had great days and really great weeks.

"It's all part of my personal development and improving. These bushfires and this terrorism stuff towards the Sri Lankans, it puts things into perspective as to what's important. Walking out there and scoring no runs is pretty unimportant if you have had your house burnt down and you have lost your family. Things like that have helped me realise what's important in life.''

Symonds has had regular counselling sessions since being sent home from Darwin before the Bangladesh one-day series last year, and he was also stopped from being part of the South Africa Test tour. "I've become more tolerant of the way I've got to accept I've got to live," he said. That's the thing that used to frustrate me. I enjoy it [counselling]. It's really helped. I'll see it right through because it's been great for me.''

Symonds said there were times during the season when he was "drinking too much and binge drinking, using it as an out or as an excuse if I'd had a bad day". "The answer for me is controlling it and knowing when to have a beer and what's appropriate," he said. "I believe I've done that well now.''

He also lost money in the collapse of a financial firm he invested in and broke up with his girlfriend during the season. However, the pair has reunited and he is now looking towards the Ashes.

"If I was to never play for cricket for Australia again, that's something I could live with," he said. "But it's something I'm not prepared to give up trying to achieve."