ICC World Twenty20 June 5, 2009

Symonds broke CA ban on public drinking


A pledge to refrain from drinking in public will likely cost Andrew Symonds his international career. The clause, inserted into his personal contract with Cricket Australia, was breached when Symonds indulged in a late-night drinking session after Australia's warm-up match against New Zealand on Tuesday, and again when he and several team-mates watched the telecast of the State of Origin rugby league game at a west London establishment the following morning.

Under the terms of his personally-tailored deal with CA, Symonds was permitted to drink with team-mates in the dressing room after matches and at team hotels. Drinking in public, however, was banned under the agreement, following a series of altercations at bars in Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean in recent years. No other player on CA's central contract list is bound by such an agreement.

The personal contract was drawn up after Symonds' infamous fishing excursion which resulted in him being ordered home from Australia's limited overs series against Bangladesh in Darwin. The allrounder was told that he would only be considered for future Australian sides if he submitted to regular counselling, and abided by the agreement with CA which prohibited him from drinking in public.

So eager was CA for Symonds not to be seen drinking in public that senior management had instructed players to "drag him out" of bars if they spotted him. Team-mates did assist in removing Symonds from a Brisbane pub last year when a member of the public threw a punch at him, but it remains unclear what role, if any, Australian cricketers played in Symonds' latest drinking excursion in London. He was in the company of several team-mates when watching the State of Origin game, some of whom were drinking moderately. There was no suggestion Symonds' behaviour was unseemly on Wednesday.

The question now appears to be who will initiate the move to end his international career. Will Symonds, who feels his freedom has been severely curtailed by the public drinking clause, walk away from the game? Or will Cricket Australia tear up his contract, pointing to the breach of their personal agreement?

Players and officials contacted by Cricinfo on Thursday were of the opinion that Symonds would call time on his 26-Test, 198-ODI career of his own accord and focus on his IPL career with Deccan Chargers. "The culture of the (Australian) team has moved on, but he hasn't," said a source close to the player. "It's probably time to look at other options."

Symonds' agent, Matt Fearon, said his client could consider becoming a freelance Twenty20 specialist, travelling the world to play in domestic leagues such as the IPL and England's P20 competition.

"He definitely wants to continue playing cricket, and he has tried his hardest for that to be with Cricket Australia," Fearon told Cricinfo. "He had some really clear goals surrounding the Ashes and the World Cup, and he will sit down now over the next few days and decide whether he needs to set new ones.

"The thing he has learned in the last few months is that he loves playing his cricket, and he loves playing it with people he fits in with. The Twenty20 route is an option, but there are still a lot of unknowns. I suppose Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist have demonstrated that you can be successful in Twenty20 cricket for a long time. That might be something he wants to concentrate on.

"He is really disappointed that all this has come about, but perhaps it needed to happen. He arrives home (Saturday) morning, and I think over the next week we will sit down and decide what is his next move."

Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association, said Symonds would retain the support of the players' union even if he chose to leave the game. "Does he want to go on, pull the pin or just play IPL? That's the decision before him," Marsh told Cricinfo. "He has definitely taken on restrictions that other players have not, but he knew that if he wanted to play for Australia again, he had to operate under certain guidelines. It's up to him now to decide whether he can do that.

"This is a sad day for Andrew and a sad day for Australian cricket. His history has caught up with him. Whatever he decides, he will have our full backing and support."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pratyush on June 7, 2009, 4:50 GMT

    The people supporting CA have been harping on the "contract" with Roy. OK now, first things first, why such a draconian contract in the first place ? Second, it also said that if Symmo went to a public bar, his team mates were told to forcefully take him out of there,others kept on drinking and no one cared. The important point is that CA have always found faults with Symmo .. always treated him with disrespect .. I dont quite understand why, all I know is that Clarke has some huge issues with Roy, I dont have much respect for Clarke anyway , but CA have been sucking up to Clarke all the while. I am an Indian, not a Deccan Chargers fan though, but I loved the way he fought on the field for his team in the finals. Its easy to say you play for the team and to win, difficult to do it, this man epitomised the same. And now we have the Aussie team, filled with no godders.. No charm remaining in the side.. All the stars gone. I am so sad .. Love You Symmo !

  • Crossfire on June 7, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    The contract was unreasonable and while he wasn't coerced into signing it - he more or less had to - to be considered for CA. It was unfair. That being said he is a dirty sledger and I could always see him mouthing off vicious comments on tv towards other teams. This sets a bad example for young cricketers. So perhaps this is his Karma. On another note - I think that ponting and clarke come across as being pious and unsympathetic to his situation. I still remember clarkes attitude when they kicked him out of the team for going fishing. What ever happened to giving someone a warning. It is like they don't want him in the team.

  • john on June 7, 2009, 0:25 GMT

    hang your heads in shame, CA, Ricky Ponting, Tim Neilson & Michael Clark.. What a disgrace!! Are we Australians? Its a huge part of Australian culture to have a beer with mates and watch the footy. Now we send home our best one day player in disgrace for being a normal bloke. I wonder how long players like Rod Marsh, Doug Walters, & Dennis Lillie would last under the existing team rules? I even wonder if such a restrictive contract is even legal.. Im also wondering at which point we started to expect our sportsman to behave like angels. I would think that a bit of fire and rebellion would be good for the game. Obviously now we have a team of tea drinking angels taking on the world..

    We have really shown how good we are without him against the Windies. Any chance we have of winning this tournament flew home on saturday. good work CA

  • Sudhir on June 6, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    How would you feel if you went to a bar...and all your team-mates are allowed to drink except you?

    Rather strange...I'd say. What sort of a law is that?

  • Nachiket on June 6, 2009, 10:13 GMT

    It seems someone in CA is intent on making life tough for Symmo. IMHO, he deserves a better deal than a blanket ban on public drinking. If this clause would end his international career, I would blame CA - not Symonds.

  • Paul on June 6, 2009, 7:48 GMT

    How can CA and James Sutherland insert a clause in a player's contract that stipulates that he can only drink alcohol at the team hotel and the team dressingroom. And, he is banned from drinking in public places!

    Is not this a restraint of trade on a player's right to do what he wants.

    I think Cricket Australia has taken the drinking issue too far to the extreme pont where the individual's right to do what he wants is being restricted.

    Andrew Symonds has a problem with the booze. He has admitted it and CA should have sent him to Beyond Blue.

  • Ramesh on June 6, 2009, 7:44 GMT

    This is a problem of, largely, CA's making. Symonds strikes me as fine cricketer, but an immature, self centred boor.And CA pandered to his bratish behaviour. How stupid to put a no-drink clause in his contract, presumably it was some sort of compromise to give him a further chance. All that was required was to have told him "You're a big boy, Roy. We won't tell you what you can or cannot drink, but you do something we feel is damaging to Australian cricket and we'll bounce you", and done it some time ago. Ponting sorted himself out didn't he? Personally, I have enjoyed watching him, but I do not feel he is that much of a loss to Cricket.

  • Nick on June 6, 2009, 5:41 GMT

    Sure, it seems like a bit of an overreaction, but I can't really se what all the fuss is about - Symonds breached his legally binding contract so CA are well within their rights to send him home. End of story. (As a side note to everyone referring to him as Australia's best player in the squad, yada yada yada, he averaged less than 15 for Queensland in the domestic season so based on actual form he was probably fortunate to be in the squad in the first place.)

  • Arshad on June 6, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    My question to Sutherland is: how many of the cricket following public know your first name? not sure? well then who on earth are you to deprive them from seeing one of the greatest all rounders of all time? I hope you regret this decision soon. What goes around, comes around - i sincerely hope it comes around soon and you're hit hard in your back side - the prayers applies to both you and Michael Clark.

  • Pete on June 6, 2009, 4:03 GMT

    This is all too weird. Remember when Simon Katich grabbed Clarke by the throat in SA and CA brushed it off as nothing happened, and imagine what they would have done if it was Symonds who did that. And CA hung Symonds out to dry in that Sydney incident. Disappointing.

    Michael Clarke is like the school prefect everyone hated because he keeps dobbing to the teacher.

    Sent home by Clarke for missing a team meeting for a winter game against Bangladesh. Hello? What's to discuss.

    They can't leave the team Hotel unless they ask team management. Do we live in a communist state now?

    Things are going to be so dull now. Can you imagine Michael Clarke's Ashes tour diary/book - "Put my socks on and cleaned my teeth,..." and compare it to say Dougy Walters' books. zzzzz. It's just a little too sanitised.

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