Symonds about to get glimpse into future
Andrew Symonds could gain his first indication of whether he remains in Australia's plans on Friday as he waits to learn whether he has been forgiven for his season of indiscretions. The preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 in England in June has to be announced by Monday, but Symonds had not received an official clearance from Cricket Australia on Thursday afternoon.
If Symonds makes the 30-man list it will increase his chances of being included in the limited-overs trip to play Pakistan in the UAE later this month. Symonds, 33, would usually be a certainty for these engagements, but he was suspended from the South Africa tours following a series of incidents and ordered into an extensive rehabilitation.
James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said at the time of the ban Symonds would have to undergo a formal review of his progress to win back his international status. Symonds, who has been having regular counselling sessions, finished the Australian summer in Queensland's Sheffield Shield team and struggled for form with the bat.
His troubles started when he was sent home from Darwin last August for going fishing and on the final night of his Test return in November he was involved in a dispute at a Brisbane pub. He avoided punishment and stayed with the Australian side until limping through the second Test against South Africa in Melbourne.
Surgery on a knee problem kept him out for a month and his list of misdemeanours grew when he called Brendon McCullum "a lump of s***" during a radio interview. In March his counsellor Deidre Anderson praised Symonds' improving behaviour when he departed a Brisbane bar after being asked to leave along with some Queensland team-mates. At the Bulls' awards dinner last week there were concerns from former team-mates that Symonds would be lost to the game if the focus on his actions continued.
In eight first-class games for Queensland in 2008-09 he scored 197 runs with a top of 52 and also struggled during the one-day competition, averaging 24.50 in six matches. His bowling was useful towards the end of the season, but if Australia want him it will be for his batting.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo