Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Symonds declares to continue playing

Andrew Symonds: "I'm looking forward to the challenge of taking up cricket again for my club, state and country, hopefully"
Andrew Symonds has confirmed he wants to fight back into the Australia side after what he conceded was irresponsible behaviour that led to him being cut from the squad in Darwin last month. Symonds joined his Queensland team-mates at training in Brisbane on Tuesday and declared his intentions to return to top-level cricket.
"I'm going through the process of trying to improve and become not only a better cricketer but a better person," Symonds said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of taking up playing cricket again for my club, state and country, hopefully." 
Symonds was unable to say when he would play again but he admitted his attitude over the past few months had been far from ideal. It was the first time Symonds had spoken publicly since he was sent home from Darwin, where he went fishing when he should have been at a team meeting.
That was the latest in a string of incidents that caused concerns in the Australia squad over his commitment to the team. He conceded the grind of constant touring had taken its toll and he was reluctant to make the Darwin trip after a rare couple of months at home. 

Prior to his time off, Symonds was on Australia's two-month tour of the West Indies, when he was fined for missing the team bus one morning. The Australian also reported that in another incident on that trip Symonds had a heated argument with Michael Clarke, the vice-captain, when Clarke found Symonds drinking in a bar with Brian Lara and questioned whether Symonds should have been there.
In 2005, Symonds had a much publicised stumble when he turned up on the morning of an ODI in Cardiff under the influence of alcohol. He was 30 at the time and his development as a player in the following years suggested it might have been a career-defining moment. In fact, Symonds said he was too slow to learn from his mistakes. 
Following the Darwin fishing trip, he was told to go home and undertake a Cricket Australia-organised rehabilitation programme so he could reassess his attitude. Symonds did not elaborate on what the process involved, although counselling is believed to be part of Cricket Australia's requirements for him.

Following the decision to stand Symonds down there was speculation that he could permanently walk away from Test cricket and focus solely on his seven-figure IPL deal. Instead, he made a public apology to his team-mates, his family and cricket fans, and said he would not be looking back.
- CricVille -
Sandesh Kumar
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