Deccan Chargers stick by Symonds
Australia's loss could be the IPL's gain, with Deccan Chargers making clear their desire to retain the services of Andrew Symonds even if his Cricket Australia contract is scrapped. Symonds, who this week was sent home from the World Twenty20 after contravening team rules, was instrumental in Hyderabad winning the second edition of the IPL. His back-to-back dismissals of Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli halted Bangalore's momentum in the final, and set the Chargers on course for a thrilling six-run victory.
PK Iyer, the managing director of Chargers' parent company, Deccan Holdings, said Symonds remained very much in the franchise's plans for the future. ""We are very happy to have him," Iyer told Cricinfo. "This is not the first time he has been pulled up by Cricket Australia. Even in the past before coming to the IPL he was involved in (controversies). He is a great guy (and) a phenomenal team player, who has done a fantastic jobs for us."
Iyer was unperturbed by Symonds' latest indiscretion, which will almost certainly end his international career, and said the management was well aware of his past behavioural infractons. Deccan paid $1.35 million for Symonds' services at the first IPL auction - the most of any non-Indian player at the time - despite his involvement in altercations with Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh in the preceding 12 months.
If, as is expected, Symonds draws the curtain on his international career, Deccan stand to be the chief beneficiaries. The veteran all-rounder left the Chargers mid-way through the inaugural IPL to join the Australian team on their tour of the Caribbean. And this year he was restricted to playing just eight games in the final phase of the tournament in South Africa due to his involvement in Australia's limited overs series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Symonds' participation in the IPL may have been limited, but his impact has been profound. His unbeaten 117 against Rajasthan was the second-highest individual innings of the inaugural IPL, and his average of 35.57 (at a robust strike-rate of 150) led all Deccan batsmen this year. Symonds also claimed seven wickets at 22.85 in 2009, including the vital scalps of Taylor and Kohli which turned the final the Chargers' way.
Of equal importance, Iyer said, was Symonds' positive influence on the franchise's young Indian players. "He is one of the best team players we have seen," Iyer said. "There is a still another year to go in his contract."
Symonds will presumably be happy to know he has the backing of his IPL employers following one of most difficult phases of his life. The financial aspect of playing for Hyderabad will be all the more appealing for Symonds following his reported $1 million loss after the collapse of an Australian investment company he had invested heavily in.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo