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February 18, 2010
News : Lalit Modi hits out at FICA and Ponting
News : Australian players will send safety demands to IPL
News : IPL not moving out of India, Modi insists
News : Security assessment says 'credible' threat to IPL - reports
News : IPL shortens match timeouts
News : Warne 'thinking twice' about IPL participation
News : IPL security concerns intensify
In Focus: Security concerns
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Andrew Symonds feels more comfortable with the security situation in India than he did whenever he toured South Africa and the recent terrorist threats against the IPL have not changed his travel plans. Symonds, who was part of Deccan Charger's Twenty20 win last year, intends to join his team-mates in Hyderabad for the tournament next month despite the safety fears.
"India is one of those countries I have never felt intimidated in," he said. "Even when the crowd starts getting a little bit uppity. I have always felt like I could get shot or stabbed more in South Africa. I have never felt that in India."
While many of the Australians involved in the IPL are waiting on the security assessment of Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association, Symonds' participation is not currently in doubt. "At this stage I will be going as planned," he said.
Symonds, who gets US$1.35m for each IPL season, was racially targeted by Indian fans in a couple of ODIs there in 2007, but his time in the Twenty20 competition has led him to call the country a "home away from home". He remembered fondly the reception Deccan received on the streets of Hyderabad after they won the second version of the IPL. That tournament was held in South Africa due to security fears and Symonds was a happy participant.
Greg Chappell, the former India coach, said he also never felt threatened in the country and was concerned that terrorist organisations were targeting sports events. "I think it would be a shame if we were pushed into a position where we were cowed by these sorts of people," he said. "By and large they [the players] are going to be okay."
Symonds, 34, confirmed he would not be seeking another contract in first-class cricket but wants to continue playing Twenty20 for Queensland. After battling for runs in Australia's domestic Twenty20 tournament this summer, he has linked up with Ashleigh Byron, his mentor as a teenager. He was targeted by the short-ball in the Big Bash and was dismissed in ugly fashion a couple of times, showing he was missing the regular, high-level training he had previously received while registering 26 Tests, 198 ODIs and 14 Twenty20 internationals.
Less than a year after his sacking from the Australian side for another drinking misdemeanour, Symonds had only one regret about his dramatic slide. "I'm not bitter about it all," he said. "It was just a tough environment for me to live in - the way that I liked to enjoy myself.
"If I had my time again, I had to sign an agreement to go back into that side and play in that side [after being suspended in 2008-09]. I would never have signed that. It's probably the one regret I do have. The times I played I did enjoy it. It just got to that point where at some point it was going to boil over and it did. I'm happy with that now, it's been dealt with and life goes on."
Symonds was speaking after becoming the 13th Queensland player to be inducted into the state's 100 first-class game club and his parents Ken and Barbara were in the audience. "I never broke the law, Mum, or did anything real bad," he said after telling them he loved them. "I'm not proud of some of the things I did but I'm very proud of some of the things I have done."
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