Australia in South Africa 2008-09 February 3, 2009

About time for tough call

31


On the outer: At 33, Andrew Symonds might feel it's easier to head to India © Getty Images
 

Finally, Cricket Australia has got serious with Andrew Symonds, but it might be too late for the national set-up to benefit. By the time Symonds is eligible for international selection again the Indian Premier League will be about to start and he will have the choice of US$1.35 million for six weeks of Twenty20 or play for an organisation that has officially tired of him.

Symonds has a conviction sheet as long as his dreadlocks, but with him out of form and fitness - and barely in control - the Cricket Australia board, following a recommendation from the chief executive James Sutherland, told him he was not in the Test squad for South Africa. The senior players were the ones who started the push for him to be sent home following last year's Darwin adventure and while he was left out of the subsequent India Test series, the flimsiness of the ruling was shown when he was brought back as soon as the team returned. Nothing had changed.

Since the season started he has struggled for runs and been in more trouble, first with an over-eager fan in a Brisbane hotel and then during his Brendon McCullum "lump of s..." interview. A fine for the radio comments was the final slap in a path of punishments that winds back to his night out in Cardiff before the Bangladesh defeat in 2005. Despite the most recent regressions, Sutherland said after the South Africa judgment that Symonds was "making good progress" with his rehabilitation, which indicates the potential for the decision makers to soften again.

In a rare diversion from what it is usually considered important, Symonds' increased counselling programme will have priority over his Australian and Queensland commitments. Presumably he will be able to arrange his sessions away from match and training times, but it will limit his off-field promotions, something he has been pushing for since asking for a pay cut during his contract negotiations last year. Even when he loses, Symonds manages some wins.

However, at 33, he might feel it's too much hassle to follow all the self-help sheets while answering hours of open-ended questions. His long-term mate Matthew Hayden has gone and a newer breed of players seem less enamoured with his distracting indiscretions.

Ricky Ponting, one of Symonds' main promoters, speaks of the allrounder as a great player. A great friend might be a better description of someone Ponting can rely on during a match. What is more important at the moment, as the slumping Australian team seeks leadership and long-term examples, is that they have players the whole set-up can rely on. Symonds is not one of those men, no matter what his counsellors say.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Swissie on February 5, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    CA have not made the right decision and Mr. English says some quite silly things. As Cricket lovers we want to enjoy the game: Symonds is one of the few modern Australian players not suffering from the behavioural hernia imposed on the team by the so called marketing savvy CA hierarchy. The team performances in the ODI arena without him reflect this.

  • Clyde on February 5, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    Symonds is a very good player, perhaps the one I would most prefer to watch. He is also a Test-level player. I agree that why he is not in the squad for South Africa is mysterious. I am a cricket spectator, not a moralist. I don't recall Symonds's showing by his Test performance that he has to be dropped. Is it that there is something that, if it were disclosed, would be defamatory and actionable? This can't be answered, without the action's ensuing. This, then, proves that calling on other than cricket values in selection is futile. I fear the bureaucratisation of cricket has pushed the selectors into a fallacy.

  • boooonnie on February 4, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    It pains me to say this but Symonds day may well be done. I understand that Warney and other sporting heroes have probably behaved worse and lived another day, but Symonds doesnt have 700 test wickets, and before his drunken ordeal he even hinted at retirement after the Ashes series. With all the difficulties the Australian team is having on the park it doesn't need to have the media circus of a drunken Symonds off it. Sad to say he is just not worth it anymore. Australia may have to put another great cricketer behind them and continue the rebuilding.

    Having said this Andy if you are reading this I would LOVE you to prove me wrong!

  • dranand on February 4, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    I agree with peter on this isssue. With due respect to every comment, I fail to fathom why d harbajan fiasco is dragged as a garb to hide symmo's misdemenours. Personally I feel symmo has always been overrated. His stats support d fact. His persona is imposing but arguably disgusting.There is no dearth of talent in this aussie team & I still back them to beat SA, if their bowling can come good. As for symmo, I feel he has chosen a wrong sport as a career. he was better suited for some contact sport[rem'br d way he barged a streaker in CB SERIES match]. Com'n folks, no player is bigger than game.

  • riteshjsr on February 4, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    It seems Symonds has this uncanny ability of getting under the skin of not only his opponents but also his own team mates and the cricket administrators in his country. Disrespectful, boorish, foul-mouthed are the words that can be used to best describe him, which, by the way will be equally applicable to Hayden, Ponting and a dozen other Australian cricketers. The problem is Symonds also has a 'couldn't care less' attitude to boot. Hayden and Ponting are equally abrasive and have said worse things about the opposition (calling Harbhajan an obnoxious little weed) and have gotten away. That's because they quickly swung into damage control mode. More importantly, they never did anything to undermine the interests of their own team, like turning up drunk before a match. What Australian cricketers need to understand is that one doesn't need to be badly behaved to be a champion player or side. Ask Dhoni. If they need an example closer home, ask Mike Hussey.

  • PhilGoorha on February 4, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    What is all the brouhaha about? Symonds had it coming for quite some months. Knowledge, skill, physical fitness and attitude are needed to succeed at the highest level. Symonds has never been a well rounded sportsman.

  • IQBell on February 4, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    Roy you will be missed, you would agree that you shot yourself in the foot. however wether you had been good as well the sword of damoceles was always hanging, dont forget you was one of the who could have been vice captain the elimination process began long before you had gone fishing. Good luck!!!

  • TheDoctor394 on February 4, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    In regards to Gilly's comments, don't forget when Colin Croft deliberately barged a New Zealand umpire when the West Indies were in NZ in 1980. Can't get much lower than that.

  • dsig3 on February 4, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Well this has to be the end for him now. I cant help but think CA has some responsibility in all this. If only they had stood up for their own player when he was under attack by India, I think things may be different now.

    Of course Symonds must take responsibility for his actions but CA should have supported him when he needed it most instead of kowtowing to BCCI. Now, both mentally and form wise I dont think he will make it back and Australia have lost a very good player. Such a waste really, he really was a better batsmen than his test record will show.

  • bobagorof on February 4, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    I'm glad Symonds isn't going to Suth Africa. Apart from the appauling conduct from someone who is representing his country (though I accept that he is a cult hero for many people who are just as disrespectful as he is), it is clear that he has some serious problems that he needs to sort out. An argument can be made for keeping him in familiar environs while he tries to sort them out, but with the speculation last year over whether he would quit the game I'm sure he would find other things to do with his time. The important thing is to support him while he sorts out his issues - and keeping media spotlights on him due to performances might not be the best way to do it. He needs help, or he will likely end up a washed-up drunkard and ruin his life. And, if that weren't enough to convince his supporters that it's in his best interests, then certainly his form doesn't warrant selection. 94 runs in one game and hardly anything the rest of the summer - and he's hardly bowling, either.

  • Swissie on February 5, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    CA have not made the right decision and Mr. English says some quite silly things. As Cricket lovers we want to enjoy the game: Symonds is one of the few modern Australian players not suffering from the behavioural hernia imposed on the team by the so called marketing savvy CA hierarchy. The team performances in the ODI arena without him reflect this.

  • Clyde on February 5, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    Symonds is a very good player, perhaps the one I would most prefer to watch. He is also a Test-level player. I agree that why he is not in the squad for South Africa is mysterious. I am a cricket spectator, not a moralist. I don't recall Symonds's showing by his Test performance that he has to be dropped. Is it that there is something that, if it were disclosed, would be defamatory and actionable? This can't be answered, without the action's ensuing. This, then, proves that calling on other than cricket values in selection is futile. I fear the bureaucratisation of cricket has pushed the selectors into a fallacy.

  • boooonnie on February 4, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    It pains me to say this but Symonds day may well be done. I understand that Warney and other sporting heroes have probably behaved worse and lived another day, but Symonds doesnt have 700 test wickets, and before his drunken ordeal he even hinted at retirement after the Ashes series. With all the difficulties the Australian team is having on the park it doesn't need to have the media circus of a drunken Symonds off it. Sad to say he is just not worth it anymore. Australia may have to put another great cricketer behind them and continue the rebuilding.

    Having said this Andy if you are reading this I would LOVE you to prove me wrong!

  • dranand on February 4, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    I agree with peter on this isssue. With due respect to every comment, I fail to fathom why d harbajan fiasco is dragged as a garb to hide symmo's misdemenours. Personally I feel symmo has always been overrated. His stats support d fact. His persona is imposing but arguably disgusting.There is no dearth of talent in this aussie team & I still back them to beat SA, if their bowling can come good. As for symmo, I feel he has chosen a wrong sport as a career. he was better suited for some contact sport[rem'br d way he barged a streaker in CB SERIES match]. Com'n folks, no player is bigger than game.

  • riteshjsr on February 4, 2009, 6:56 GMT

    It seems Symonds has this uncanny ability of getting under the skin of not only his opponents but also his own team mates and the cricket administrators in his country. Disrespectful, boorish, foul-mouthed are the words that can be used to best describe him, which, by the way will be equally applicable to Hayden, Ponting and a dozen other Australian cricketers. The problem is Symonds also has a 'couldn't care less' attitude to boot. Hayden and Ponting are equally abrasive and have said worse things about the opposition (calling Harbhajan an obnoxious little weed) and have gotten away. That's because they quickly swung into damage control mode. More importantly, they never did anything to undermine the interests of their own team, like turning up drunk before a match. What Australian cricketers need to understand is that one doesn't need to be badly behaved to be a champion player or side. Ask Dhoni. If they need an example closer home, ask Mike Hussey.

  • PhilGoorha on February 4, 2009, 6:32 GMT

    What is all the brouhaha about? Symonds had it coming for quite some months. Knowledge, skill, physical fitness and attitude are needed to succeed at the highest level. Symonds has never been a well rounded sportsman.

  • IQBell on February 4, 2009, 4:40 GMT

    Roy you will be missed, you would agree that you shot yourself in the foot. however wether you had been good as well the sword of damoceles was always hanging, dont forget you was one of the who could have been vice captain the elimination process began long before you had gone fishing. Good luck!!!

  • TheDoctor394 on February 4, 2009, 3:57 GMT

    In regards to Gilly's comments, don't forget when Colin Croft deliberately barged a New Zealand umpire when the West Indies were in NZ in 1980. Can't get much lower than that.

  • dsig3 on February 4, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Well this has to be the end for him now. I cant help but think CA has some responsibility in all this. If only they had stood up for their own player when he was under attack by India, I think things may be different now.

    Of course Symonds must take responsibility for his actions but CA should have supported him when he needed it most instead of kowtowing to BCCI. Now, both mentally and form wise I dont think he will make it back and Australia have lost a very good player. Such a waste really, he really was a better batsmen than his test record will show.

  • bobagorof on February 4, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    I'm glad Symonds isn't going to Suth Africa. Apart from the appauling conduct from someone who is representing his country (though I accept that he is a cult hero for many people who are just as disrespectful as he is), it is clear that he has some serious problems that he needs to sort out. An argument can be made for keeping him in familiar environs while he tries to sort them out, but with the speculation last year over whether he would quit the game I'm sure he would find other things to do with his time. The important thing is to support him while he sorts out his issues - and keeping media spotlights on him due to performances might not be the best way to do it. He needs help, or he will likely end up a washed-up drunkard and ruin his life. And, if that weren't enough to convince his supporters that it's in his best interests, then certainly his form doesn't warrant selection. 94 runs in one game and hardly anything the rest of the summer - and he's hardly bowling, either.

  • slugger1969 on February 4, 2009, 2:11 GMT

    I agree with dmudge as well. There is obviously something far more drastic that Joe Public is not privvy to. The media seem to really dislike him. Maybe he can't be bothered answering your inane predictable questions. CA hung him out to dry over the Harbajhan affair. This I found strange, that an organisation that cares first and foremost about money in the coffers (and little else), would happily crap on a guy that put as many bums on seats as anyone in world cricket. From what I gather, he missed a team meeting, was unfortunate enough to be in the same pub as a complete idiot of a person, who couldn't mind his own business and said a naughty word on a joke radio show. How terribly unforgiveable. I doubt that any of this should be newsworthy outside of the team itself. If this is the extent of his troublesome behaviour then there is obviously something else quite sinister that we don't know about. If there is, then CA can justify their decision. If not then shame on CA and the media.

  • redneck on February 4, 2009, 0:45 GMT

    cricket australia should be the ones appoligising to symonds for not standing by him after the 07 sydeny test! i mean if harbhajan could get away with making racist remarks towards him why cant he call some one a lump of... and get off like harbhajan did? i mean it was on a comedy radio show it wasnt like it was on a more formal abc radio program obviously the comment was toung in cheek! i hope he comes back against pakistan and makes the selectors take notice of what they deprived the aussie team of!

  • CaribbeanLionesse on February 3, 2009, 23:59 GMT

    Far be it from me to defend any Aussie :) but I have to agree with dmudge, mokshu and others who have commented that CA seems to be over-reacting with the Symmonds case. Obviously he's not a saint but I don't think his infractions are so much worse than that of other bad boys and loud mouths on the Australian team such as Warne or Hayden. So what is the difference between Symmonds and these other players? Hmmm... what could it be?

    Let us not forget that this is the same CA that Symmonds accused of failing to back him up during the first India race row. I'm not saying but I'm just saying...

  • Sanj747 on February 3, 2009, 23:54 GMT

    Peter couldn't agree with you more. The fear in all of this is if CA go soft and let him back in too soon. Symonds is a disruptive influence and he can't be babysit any longer. Ponting needs to show leadership and say enough is enough. He has to leave his friensdhip and matey thing aside as he has stuck up enough for Symonds. Unfortunately couldn't respect any of the support he has had and continued to abuse his relationship with the game. I personally think he should never play for Australia again. No one is bigger than the game.

  • muffles on February 3, 2009, 22:56 GMT

    Well, Peter, you must be a happy man today. You can paste Roy's name on the fridge beside Damien Martyn's. I've been listening, watching and attending cricket, the game I worship, for over 65 years. I go back to Bradman, Miller and company. Up until about 15 years ago, off-field behaviour was left to biographies and the like, and are a treasured part of Australian cricket history and folklore. Not anymore. You, and journos like you, have seen to that. As for Roy's 'crimes', compared to what happened in the past they don't even rate a mention. What I'm writing about is the fake morality, the wowerism, that saturates the current Australian cricket press. I wonder how many of you have experienced the pressure of Test cricket, and I also wonder how many of you would emerge squeaky-clean from the scrutiny and pressure that you're forcing on its players. For Roy, I say get out mate. Now they've tasted blood they won't let let up. If you don't believe me, ask Damien.

  • Chazzaca on February 3, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    I agree with dmudge & trapperjohn that Roy should be judged only by form - but that's half the problem - he's out of form!! He's got a bung knee, made next to no runs and taken few wickets this summer and those alone warrant his non-selection to Sth Africa. Phil Hughes should definitely be on that plane in a fortnight.

  • Gilly67 on February 3, 2009, 20:47 GMT

    Andrew Symonds is almost a saint compared to the behaviour displayed by cricket doyens of the past. It staggers me to listen to media and past players alike condemn Andrew Symonds for minor indescretions OFF the field when you consider the behaviour of their contempories in the past. Rod Marsh and David Boon were lucky to get through British customs after booze laden flights. Dennis Lillee actually kicked Javed Miandad in a game. Javed Miandad raised his cricket bat to hit Lillee in the same incident. Waqar Younis bowled not one, but two bean balls (lowest act a fast bowler can do IMO) at Andrew Symonds in the 2003 world cup. I could go on forever. The thing is, Andrew Symonds, like Greg Matthews before him, is a talented all rounder who does not fit into the establishments guidelines of what a cricket should be. He is different, not mainstream, and doesn't mind speaking his mind. This is too hard for boffins like Sutherland ( a talentless cricketer himself)to comprehend.

  • mikeindex on February 3, 2009, 19:04 GMT

    My main reaction is surprise that Symonds should suddenly find himself disciplined for being abrasive, boorish and foul-mouthed when these - in addition to their undeniable playing ability - have been the hallmark of Australian cricket throughout the period of their success.

    One thing to be said for Symonds is that whatever his failings he is no hypocrite - too honest for his own good if anything. He's not a cheat or a liar - what will CA now do about Haddin who is self-evidently both? My prediction is, nothing, which if correct will say a lot about their scale of values.

  • Satyajitdutt on February 3, 2009, 17:31 GMT

    CA made the right call on this issue and Peter English is right. Roy's mind is just not tuned the right way and until he does so, he would be a bad influence on the team. It clearly showed in his poor performances in Shield cricket and in the test matches. CA does deserve it's share of the blame because it have not managed Symonds properly. He's clearly a country boy from Townsville who doesn't like the limelight and has been clearly mismanaged and CA must take responsibility for that. I can't believe people compare Warne and Symonds. Even when Warne's head wasn't right, he never ever let that affect the team's performances. The difference is Warne knew how to deal with super stardom that Roy couldn't. And don't think Warne got rapped any less. He lost the vice captaincy to Gilchrist and was banned for 1 full year so Roy's exclusion is small in this regard. Hopefully this motivates him to fight back as he is a wonderful player to watch when in full flight batting, bowling or fielding.

  • squidhead on February 3, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    I'm with dmudge as well. It's worth listening to the whole interview, which can be found easily, before passing judgement. It's clear Symonds had no issue with McCullum at all, just the policy of drafting in an outside player at the expense of a member of a winning team. It was anything but a rant against another player, and he's effectively been punished twice, very probably ending his career, for swearing once in a light-hearted interview with a couple of comedians. As Roy and H.G. later said, the only ones bringing cricket into disrepute here are CA.

    There's a pattern here. After 2005 (possibly March 2006) how many of the incidents in Symonds' so-called "dishonour roll" are clear, unambiguous examples of serious misbehaviour, without provocation or accusations behind closed doors? Unless Mr. English knows something we don't, there's really very little to justify the level of hostily towards him.

    I would say it's CA that have let Symonds down. Badly.

  • Salil on February 3, 2009, 17:19 GMT

    CA should learn from PCB. They have over-reacted. Look at PCB, they give 2nd, 3rd, 4th .... chance to players like Afridi, Akhtar and Asif. Symonds has not done 10 % of what Pakistani player do in one season and his career is in jeopardy.

  • Awad on February 3, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    Australia is struggling and they need Andrew Symonds. CA may have set an example by dropping him but they are sending a weak side to SA. Symonds is one of the many cases of a player who somehow cannot steady himself and act more responsible. But in the current situation Aus finds itself, losing back to back series, having many answers still unsolved in the batting order, the wisdom behind the dropping is bizzarre. How costly it is, only time will tell. If Aus put up a strong show in the series, it may well be the final nail in the Symonds saga.

  • Krooks on February 3, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    I believe that Roy deserves another chance. He may be scratching in the little league of Australia but then men like him seldom play well away from the limelight. Look at Sehwag he was groping in mid-air and left out of the team, till Kumble rooted for him and called him back against Australia in 2007-08 tour and the rest as we say is history. Give Symonds his shot at redemption, tell him that this is your last chance. We are gambling on you against SA in their den and we are relying on you cos' we know you are a big match player. Give him the backing and if he fails this time he will himself know what to do. Sports pyschologist only muddle the thinking, they don't help much. Away from the Australian Media spotlight, I am sure that Roy can discipline himself and become the destroyer of old. I hated Australian team for the last 16 years but I don't want them to go the WI way.World Cricket is poorer without a tough Aus team.Roy is one player they can rely on, bring him back. -Saurabh

  • mokshu on February 3, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    I think CA has gone nuts,they are obviously following a different set of rules for symonds(who is definitely not one of my favourite cricketers) and others guys have not been penalised this heavily for their outbursts (eg hayden).

  • Nipun on February 3, 2009, 16:21 GMT

    CA has done the right thing.There's absolutely no doubt that the inclusion of Symonds would have strengthened the currently not-so-strong-Australian lineup,but he's done enough for CA to decide that his inclusion would also mean further controversies.Symonds has been a very good player,but he's shown enough that he takes his place his Australia place for granted with his outrageously stupid comments,again & again.It's time to say him THANK YOU,BUT YOU'RE OVER.Settle this issue once & for all,& let the Australian team focus on cricket rather than a rude 33 year old.

  • dyson85 on February 3, 2009, 15:58 GMT

    I'm with dmudge and trapperjohn. I can't see what the massive issue is. I'll admit the McCullum incident was really pretty average in how it came across, but to hold a career to ransom over it is a bit of an over reaction for me, even considering Symonds history. He is misunderstood; means well but acts and speaks without editing his thoughts. Lets accept him for the flamboyant and interesting character that he is, even if he's prone to putting his foot in it. Most importantly, I can't beleive that Ricky Pontings wishes to have Symonds on the plane to SA have been ignored, I think that is a poor show by the administration and it undermines the most important man in the Australian cricket setup.

  • trapperjohn on February 3, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    With all due respect, Peter, I think you're overreacting. As dmudge noted, Symonds may not be an angel, but he's hardly a serious problem child. His captain wants him in the side, and when he's on his game, he provides a spark sorely lacking from the middle order. In the recent Perth Test, he may have gotten out cheaply in both his innings, but only after registering 57 and 37 -- a far greater contribution than we saw from, say, Saint Hussey.

    That a selection panel that contains noted boozer Boony could hold Roy's drinking against him is laughable. In the end, he should be picked or not picked based on his form. And despite any off-pitch demons, and despite his often reckless disregard for the safety of his wicket, he's one of Australia's best middle-order batsman, superb in the field, and again - his captain wants him. Until they sack Ponting, that should count for a lot.

  • growltiger on February 3, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Question whether he is hard done by rests on facts that we are not privy to. If it were just a matter of getting drunk in 2005, going on a fishing trip in Darwin, and mis-describing Brendon MacCullum on air, that would probably be surmountable. But all the stuff about counselling and rehab suggests that Cricket Australia is concerned about a whole lot more.

  • rohanbala on February 3, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    No doubt about it.. CA has done the right thing in not considering Andrew Symonds for the SA tour. If he is selected, it would set a very bad precedent. Andrew was given a chance earlier but he does not seem to have learnt his lessons. The game is always greater than any individual whatever has been his earlier contributions to the team.

  • Sampdoria on February 3, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    It's about time CA regained it's own form as in the last 2 decades in dealing with players. CA was the organization which sacked Waugh even when he was at his peak. They need to do the same now and crush the decadence in the team. CA should not be Symonds' babysitters. They should get younger players in and show the rest that no player is bigger than the team or the game. CA would be brave and pioneering to remove Ponting as well.

  • dmudge on February 3, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    I think Symonds is hard done by. CA didn't worry about banning Warne every time he messed up. Since 2005 Symonds has missed a team meeting and called an opponent a name ... and for that his career is all but taken from him. Not everyone can live their life like an angel, and nor should they be expected to. He should be judged only on his form.

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  • dmudge on February 3, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    I think Symonds is hard done by. CA didn't worry about banning Warne every time he messed up. Since 2005 Symonds has missed a team meeting and called an opponent a name ... and for that his career is all but taken from him. Not everyone can live their life like an angel, and nor should they be expected to. He should be judged only on his form.

  • Sampdoria on February 3, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    It's about time CA regained it's own form as in the last 2 decades in dealing with players. CA was the organization which sacked Waugh even when he was at his peak. They need to do the same now and crush the decadence in the team. CA should not be Symonds' babysitters. They should get younger players in and show the rest that no player is bigger than the team or the game. CA would be brave and pioneering to remove Ponting as well.

  • rohanbala on February 3, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    No doubt about it.. CA has done the right thing in not considering Andrew Symonds for the SA tour. If he is selected, it would set a very bad precedent. Andrew was given a chance earlier but he does not seem to have learnt his lessons. The game is always greater than any individual whatever has been his earlier contributions to the team.

  • growltiger on February 3, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Question whether he is hard done by rests on facts that we are not privy to. If it were just a matter of getting drunk in 2005, going on a fishing trip in Darwin, and mis-describing Brendon MacCullum on air, that would probably be surmountable. But all the stuff about counselling and rehab suggests that Cricket Australia is concerned about a whole lot more.

  • trapperjohn on February 3, 2009, 14:30 GMT

    With all due respect, Peter, I think you're overreacting. As dmudge noted, Symonds may not be an angel, but he's hardly a serious problem child. His captain wants him in the side, and when he's on his game, he provides a spark sorely lacking from the middle order. In the recent Perth Test, he may have gotten out cheaply in both his innings, but only after registering 57 and 37 -- a far greater contribution than we saw from, say, Saint Hussey.

    That a selection panel that contains noted boozer Boony could hold Roy's drinking against him is laughable. In the end, he should be picked or not picked based on his form. And despite any off-pitch demons, and despite his often reckless disregard for the safety of his wicket, he's one of Australia's best middle-order batsman, superb in the field, and again - his captain wants him. Until they sack Ponting, that should count for a lot.

  • dyson85 on February 3, 2009, 15:58 GMT

    I'm with dmudge and trapperjohn. I can't see what the massive issue is. I'll admit the McCullum incident was really pretty average in how it came across, but to hold a career to ransom over it is a bit of an over reaction for me, even considering Symonds history. He is misunderstood; means well but acts and speaks without editing his thoughts. Lets accept him for the flamboyant and interesting character that he is, even if he's prone to putting his foot in it. Most importantly, I can't beleive that Ricky Pontings wishes to have Symonds on the plane to SA have been ignored, I think that is a poor show by the administration and it undermines the most important man in the Australian cricket setup.

  • Nipun on February 3, 2009, 16:21 GMT

    CA has done the right thing.There's absolutely no doubt that the inclusion of Symonds would have strengthened the currently not-so-strong-Australian lineup,but he's done enough for CA to decide that his inclusion would also mean further controversies.Symonds has been a very good player,but he's shown enough that he takes his place his Australia place for granted with his outrageously stupid comments,again & again.It's time to say him THANK YOU,BUT YOU'RE OVER.Settle this issue once & for all,& let the Australian team focus on cricket rather than a rude 33 year old.

  • mokshu on February 3, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    I think CA has gone nuts,they are obviously following a different set of rules for symonds(who is definitely not one of my favourite cricketers) and others guys have not been penalised this heavily for their outbursts (eg hayden).

  • Krooks on February 3, 2009, 16:35 GMT

    I believe that Roy deserves another chance. He may be scratching in the little league of Australia but then men like him seldom play well away from the limelight. Look at Sehwag he was groping in mid-air and left out of the team, till Kumble rooted for him and called him back against Australia in 2007-08 tour and the rest as we say is history. Give Symonds his shot at redemption, tell him that this is your last chance. We are gambling on you against SA in their den and we are relying on you cos' we know you are a big match player. Give him the backing and if he fails this time he will himself know what to do. Sports pyschologist only muddle the thinking, they don't help much. Away from the Australian Media spotlight, I am sure that Roy can discipline himself and become the destroyer of old. I hated Australian team for the last 16 years but I don't want them to go the WI way.World Cricket is poorer without a tough Aus team.Roy is one player they can rely on, bring him back. -Saurabh

  • Awad on February 3, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    Australia is struggling and they need Andrew Symonds. CA may have set an example by dropping him but they are sending a weak side to SA. Symonds is one of the many cases of a player who somehow cannot steady himself and act more responsible. But in the current situation Aus finds itself, losing back to back series, having many answers still unsolved in the batting order, the wisdom behind the dropping is bizzarre. How costly it is, only time will tell. If Aus put up a strong show in the series, it may well be the final nail in the Symonds saga.