September 2, 2008

Australian cricket

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to ... Symonds

Peter English
Andrew Symonds at Harbhajan Singh's hearing, Adelaide, January 29, 2008
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In a wide-ranging article on player behaviour in sport, the Daily Telegraph's Tom Smithies looks at Andrew Symonds’ attitude following his fishing trip in Darwin.

You also have to laugh when someone such as Symonds, having broken his team's rules, then asks the world to "respect my privacy" as he contemplates walking away from the preposterous earnings and opportunities that elite sportsmen are granted. Teams require their members to respect each other, if no one else, and if you don't play by house rules then disharmony is sewn faster than onion weed.

In the Symonds case consider the words of Michael Clarke, vice-captain of the Australian team and for rather longer a close friend to the all-rounder. Their history counted for little when Clarke questioned Symonds' attitude and his commitment and spoke of things that Symonds wasn't fulfilling. A lack, in short, of respect.

The Australian’s Malcolm Conn says the decision to send Symonds home probably saved the allrounder from himself. Conn also talks about Symonds’ “moody side”.

Having travelled to all of cricket's most difficult and dangerous locations over the past two decades I have only felt physically threatened twice. One was when a guard outside the palatial residence of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe, which is across the road from the cricket ground in Harare, held me up at bayonet point while two army officers interrogated me for 20 minutes. The other was when Symonds saw me in a bar during the 2004 Sri Lanka tour and shaped up before team security grabbed him and moved him on.

Jamie Pandaram, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, reports Symonds is considering quitting and is "angry, hurt and embarrassed".

In the India-based Daily News and Analysis, Stephen Gray the co-author of Roy: Going For Broke, tells Vijay Tagore of Symonds' passion for fishing, a childhood hobby.

“I’ve no doubt how he would spend his superannuation. He will have a house near the sea and will buy a good fishing boat. He will also go swimming and farming but fishing will be his primary activity after he has done away with cricket.”

Peter English is former Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo

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