It is sometime now that Andrew Symonds stopped playing competitive cricket in Australia. But his sharp reflexes on the field continue to amaze whenever the full-time Twenty20 professional comes out to play in the Indian Premier League, especially considering his aversion to regimented team training sessions.
His new franchisee Mumbai Indians don't need to worry that running laps of the ground or those fielding sessions don't sustain their new all-rounder's interest. Being the free spirit he is, he has his own ways of staying physically fit. While playing for Queensland last season, he kept in shape by training with a rugby team. This time, he's doing his fitness in an even more exciting manner.
"He is quite excited about again playing in the Indian Premier League and is back in training. Although in typical Andrew fashion, it is not just gym and nets. He is currently on a friend's large cattle property in North Queensland where he is mustering cattle on horseback and motorbike. Hard physical work anyway!" a Queensland Cricket source informed the Hindustan Times on Monday.
Symonds is not the first Australian cricketer to train at a farm. Their legendary fast bowler of the 70s Dennis Lillee too had tried out similar techniques.
Those in the know say mustering the cattle is a very physically demanding exercise. The Queensland source explained: "When you are doing a big muster, you have to camp away from the main homestead overnight. It's usually a case of rising before dawn, catch and saddle your horse, get your working dogs then ride several kilometres to start working through the scrub and bush to locate small mobs of cattle that are usually keen to avoid being mustered."
NO MONKEY BUSINESS
Mumbai Indians picked up Symonds for USD 850,000 dollars from the auction on Saturday, giving an interesting twist to the Monkeygate saga involving him and Harbhajan during the Sydney Test in 2007. However, a Queensland source close to the all-rounder assured that Symonds has put the ugly incident firmly behind him. "He was happy enough to deal with it once and then get on with things."
Mumbai Indian skipper Sachin Tendulkar was the third character in the controversy; he testified in support of Harbhajan during the hearing. Symonds holds no grudge against Tendulkar, he revealed.