In the latest of a spate of books published in the wake of the Ashes, Ricky Ponting has written of his fury at Andrew Symonds's behaviour during the tour of England. Arriving at the ground on the morning of Australia's match against Bangladesh - which, famously, they lost by five wickets - Symonds was found by Ponting and Adam Gilchrist to be more than a little worse for wear.
Symonds was duly suspended for disciplinary reasons and, while the incident was largely forgotten as the tour rumbled on, Ponting's anger at what happened has been revealed in his book, The Ashes 2005, which is soon to be released.
"When Gilchrist and I got to Symonds I did not beat around the bush," Ponting wrote. "His eyes looked puffy and I could smell alcohol on his breath. 'Were you out late last night having a drink?' I said.
"'Yes,' he replied. 'What time did you get back?' I responded. 'About 1.30, I think.'
"Given the state he was in eight hours after that, I found his claim hard to believe. My blood was beginning to boil. I did not shout, but let Symonds know exactly what I thought about his behaviour."
Ponting told Symonds he would not be in the team to play Bangladesh.
"'Right,' was his response," writes Ponting. "But he said it in such a casual 'see-if-I-care' way that it wound me up even more. 'Don't encourage me,' I said.
Ponting also uncovers more about the disturbing death threats he and his team-mates received: "Emails suggesting I deserved a bullet in the head for my efforts were received; apparently the writer also explained that he knew people in this country who were willing to carry out the threat," he wrote.
"As a cricketer I am used to facing catcalls and barracking from opposition fans, although this is an altogether new level of intimidation and I have never been threatened in this way before. Rianna [Ponting's wife] was upset and quite shaken when I told her about the emails."
Ponting also wrote that he intended to remain Australia's captain after the Ashes defeat and denied that Shane Warne was virtually running the team in England. "There was only one person in charge on the field and that was me. If he [Warne] does still have captaincy aspirations he had better join the queue, because I am not planning on going anywhere just yet."
Ponting also did not rule out the possibility of Warne returning to one-day cricket. "I would not rule out the idea of him coming back into the one-day side for the 2007 World Cup. The trouble is that I do not think he will make himself available unless he gets an assurance from the selectors that they will pick him. He will not want to go to the trouble and possible embarrassment of announcing his availability only to be overlooked."
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