Symonds' future in his hands
James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, will not guarantee Andrew Symonds a spot in Australia's plans for the next year after the allrounder's slip from the Test team. The squad's national contracts are due to be named in the next fortnight and Symonds' ranking fell during his troubled 2008-09 season.
Symonds was banned from the South Africa tour, where Marcus North stepped into a baggy green at No.6, and returned during the limited-overs series in the United Arab Emirates. He picked up one important half-century but finished with 82 runs in four innings.
"It is very much in Andrew Symonds' hands," Sutherland told the Sydney Morning Herald. "His future is in his hands; how he performs on the field and off it. He knows that.
"We have a duty of care to our employees, to help them in times of need. But at the same time, we've got a responsibility to the game itself, and people will always make judgments about whether we've gone a step too far either way.
"We're hoping he will repay the people who have worked closely with him with his performances this winter and beyond." Symonds was picked in the World Twenty20 squad for the tournament in England next month, but is also waiting to learn whether he is in the selectors' thoughts for the Ashes.
Brett Lee is another big-name player with an uncertain future following ankle and foot surgery at the start of the year. Lee is in the Twenty20 squad and the strength of his recovery will determine whether he stays in England for his third Test series there.
Damien Fleming, who toured with Lee in 2001, said Lee was looking strong but needed to learn from his previous trips. "If you have two full Ashes series and average around 45 it isn't good from your perceived No. 1 or No. 2 quick," Fleming said in the Herald Sun. "There's something about the conditions, the slower pitches there. He doesn't get a lot of bounce. He needs to learn from the two Ashes series and get back to his best. We have a fair bit of depth now."
Lee will head for South Africa and the IPL at the end of Australia's tour of the UAE, but Fleming would have preferred it if the fast man spent time preparing at the Centre of Excellence instead. "I would want him to make sure he can bowl 15 overs per day minimum."