Watson says Symonds will be back
Shane Watson has no doubt Andrew Symonds will return to international cricket and believes it would be a massive waste of talent if he focuses solely on the Indian Premier League. Symonds is considering his future after being cut from the Australia squad in Darwin due to the team's concerns about his commitment.
As the highest paid foreign cricketer in the IPL - he sold at auction for US$1.35 million to the Deccan Chargers - Symonds clearly does not need to play for Australia to earn a living. But his good friend and Queensland team-mate Watson believes Symonds has put in such effort turning himself from an ODI dasher into a high quality Test batsman that he would not walk away from Australia.
"I know Andrew Symonds well and I know deep down he's worked so, so hard and been through a lot of ups and downs throughout his career to play for Australia," Watson said. "I've got no doubt in my mind that he'll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later, when he makes sure that his mind is exactly where he wants to be."
The IPL option might be tempting if Symonds is having trouble staying focused through Australia's hectic international schedule. Watson was named Player of the Series in the inaugural tournament this year and said the league had its own set of serious stressors, which Symonds would need to consider if he intended to concentrate entirely on that format.
"Playing in the IPL there's a lot of pressure on you to play and to perform," Watson said. "I felt that. You know that if things start to not go great that there's a lot of pressure from your owners, from the people, from the supporters.
"I hope that's not the way he goes because I don't want this to be the last the Australian public see of Andrew Symonds playing for Australia. I personally think that it would be a waste because he's an amazingly talented player and I love watching him play."
Watson said he had seen no signs over the past few months that Symonds had changed, although the team leadership group has had lingering concerns for some time. He has resisted the temptation to call his friend over the past few days but he expects to chat to Symonds soon.
"I know when times aren't going great ... it's probably good to have a bit of time to yourself just to gather your thoughts," Watson said. "I'm sure I'll talk to him in the next few days."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo