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April 7, 2010
Surrey have signed Andrew Symonds, who is currently with the Deccan Chargers at the IPL, for this season's Twenty20 Cup. Despite losing his Australia place and no longer playing first-class cricket for Queensland, he is still regarded as one of the most destructive players in the world.
Symonds, 34, has an impressive Twenty20 record averaging 37.43 with a strike rate of 156.79. Alongside his explosive batting he is a steady bowler, able to switch between offspin and medium pace well enough to average 32.94 in Twenty20 cricket.
Surrey missed out on qualification for the knockout stage in last year's competition but are hoping that new captain Rory Hamilton-Brown can revive fortunes at The Oval. Chris Adams, the Surrey coach, thinks Symonds will add the touch of class the side needs for a good showing in the tournament.
"Signing a player with the unique abilities of Andrew Symonds will add a huge 'X Factor' to our squad," he said. "I have watched him take apart some of the best bowlers in the world and am hugely excited to see him exhibit his skills in front of packed houses around the country."
Adams is also unconcerned about Adams' colourful past and believes he will be a valuable asset on and off the field. "I've spoken to Andrew to get a sense of where he was within his life and career," he said. "There's part of be that is quite attracted to the broken souls and those that find themselves in the situation that Andrew does because if we can provide an environment for him to come back and reinvent himself then it's a win-win."
Speaking from India Symonds said he's looking forward to playing in front of the English crowds again, having previously had spells with Gloucestershire, Kent and Lancashire.
"I have always enjoyed playing in England and I am really looking forward to playing with Surrey. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to play this exciting form of cricket in so many different regions and I am sure the English crowds will make this competition one of the best."
However, there remains uncertainty over how much Surrey will see of Piyush Chawla, the India legspinner, after the BCCI's withdrawal of No Objection Certificates. That move has ended the deals of Virender Sehwag at Northamptonshire and Yusuf Pathan at Essex, but Surrey still expect to have the services of Chawla.
"We signed Chawla very much with a view to play in all forms of cricket for us this season," Adams said. "We're waiting for further news. We've had no indication as yet, or certainly no indication to say he won't be with us for the whole season."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala