Andrew Symonds June 29, 2009

Symonds tells of his binge-drinking

Cricinfo staff

Andrew Symonds has conceded he is a binge drinker but said he was not an alcoholic despite his frequent off-field alcohol-related dramas. In his first major interview since being sent home from England and having his Cricket Australia contract torn up, Symonds said he had felt "caged in" within the Australian team environment.

"I am not an alcoholic - I have been diagnosed as a binge drinker," Symonds said on Channel Nine's Sixty Minutes programme. "I go out and drink hard all in one hit. Too fast, too much.

"Everyone's tolerance is different. I became not good to be around. I have let [team-mates] down a number of times. I had to front up and apologise to them a number of times. They were embarrassing, difficult, awkward situations. It is not ideal.

"I am not saying I am perfect but I am not setting out looking for trouble. I am not proud of the times I have drunk too much or been rude to people or broken team rules - it's unacceptable. I am out of that environment and that won't happen any more for those people. In that environment, I was caged in."

The last straw came when Symonds drank while watching the State of Origin rugby match. He had agreed not to drink in public at all on tour and was subsequently sent home from the ICC World Twenty20 and had his international career ended when Cricket Australia took away his contract.

"I love Origin football and for me, with Origin football comes a few beers," Symonds said. "I was wrapped up in watching football and then when I got back [to the hotel] I knew then [I was in trouble]."

Symonds was never comfortable with the intense glare of the media that became an inevitable part of his career. He said that even if he had not erred in England this year it would only have been a matter of time.

"It takes it out of you, a little bit at a time," he said. "Then there's the build-up from that, and then, boom. I sit back now and I look at it and I think at some point I was going to blow, I was gonna bust. Whether it was now, or whether it was in two months' time."

Symonds has not made a decision on how much cricket he intends to play in the future and did not receive a 2009-10 Queensland contract last week, at his own request. His agent Matt Fearon headed to England several days ago to see if there was interest from counties in signing Symonds for the domestic Twenty20 competition.