Modi tells Symonds to keep playing for Australia
The Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi has told Andrew Symonds, who is weighing up his options after being suspended by Australia for going fishing, that the competition is not a venue for a "bunch of retired cricketers". Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Stephen Fleming were some of the former internationals involved in the inaugural tournament, but Modi said it was important for Symonds to be playing for Australia.
"I would advise him to stay on with his country," Modi said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "We need players who are playing international cricket. We don't need a whole bunch of retired cricketers in the tournament. Cricket Australia has the right to refuse that he plays in the IPL for two years after retirement."
Michael Brown, Cricket Australia's general manager of operations, said they had not contemplated blocking Symonds from appearing in the tournament. "All of us want him back in the team," Brown said. "Andrew is an outstanding player."
Symonds was signed for the Deccan Chargers for US$1.35 million and is upset about his treatment from Australia. He missed a team meeting and optional training session in Darwin last Friday when he went fishing. The following day he left the squad and returned to Brisbane.
The Deccan chief executive Tim Wright said he would love to have Symonds available for the 2009 event, although if he is part of Australia's set-up he will be involved in series against South Africa and Pakistan. "The Deccan Chargers will - as will any IPL team - want Andrew Symonds in from the very first ball of the competition to the very last ball,'' Wright told AAP. "He will strengthen any Indian Premier League team by his presence.''
Wright said it was important Symonds "was enjoying his cricket", whether playing for Australia or Deccan, and he would "absolutely not" try and encourage the allrounder to end his international career. "From an entirely personal point of view, I'd like to see Symonds help Deccan win the IPL and I'd like to see him star in an Ashes series against England in 2009," Wright said.
Symonds played four games for Deccan this year before joining the Australian team for their tour of the West Indies. He was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise poor campaign for Deccan, who finished last, scoring 161 runs at 80.50 including a century against the Rajasthan Royals.