Queensland Cricket will stand by Andrew Symonds after his latest ban from the Australia team and will pick him in the state squad if he wants to play. Symonds was sent home from the World Twenty20 after breaking team and personal rules and said on landing back home on Saturday that he had "a fair bit to consider".
Symonds has had his 2009-10 Cricket Australia contract withdrawn and will weigh up whether to continue in all forms of the game or focus on the lucrative Twenty20 leagues. Graham Dixon, the Queensland Cricket chief executive, would like Symonds back in the Bulls set-up.
"Certainly," he said in the Sunday Mail. "Andrew has been representing us since he was 17, so half of his life he's been part of the Queensland cricket family.
"We like the bloke and we want to help him through this issue that's facing him now. I would expect that Andrew would be on any selection list. As far as Queensland is concerned, we aren't on the field until October so there's no pressing needs."
Dixon said Queensland Cricket's No. 1 priority was "Andrew Symonds the bloke". "Andrew has to weigh up what sort of cricket he wants to play and he probably did that on the plane," he said.
Peter Young, the Cricket Australia spokesman, said Symonds' contract for 2009-10 would not go ahead. "Andrew has a lot on his mind," he said. "For the time being, the ball is in his court in terms of what he wants to do next. We are keen to encourage the private work that he's been doing with his own rehabilitation program and we'll support him through that."
Jimmy Maher, Symonds' former team-mate, said a change in team culture and personnel contributed to the allrounder's problems. "Let's face it, all these incidents have only started occurring since the recent spate of retirements of the elder statesmen of the Australian cricket team," he said. "He'd had one incident in 10 years before then [in Cardiff in 2005].
"It's no surprise that he played so well in the IPL this year under the stewardship of Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist. They are guys who work on the adage that you train hard and play hard and enjoy yourself. 'Boof' Lehmann has handled him exceptionally well. I dare say if guys like Hayden and Langer and Gilchrist were on this trip, the latest incident wouldn't have happened."
Maher said Symonds wanted to catch up with the boys at the end of a day's play, "like we used to". "Now when he mentions having a beer some of the new generation look at him like he's from another planet," he said. "They want to run off to their rooms to have recovery and play XBox."