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'It has taken a huge toll on me... '

Andrew Symonds says he has gone past the most "stressful" period of his career and the racism row has taken a huge toll on him and his family.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2008 22:02 IST

The racism row might have been resolved but the central character in the controversy, Andrew Symonds says that he has gone past the most "stressful" period of his career and it has taken a huge toll on him and his family.

Symonds hit back at those questioning his integrity in the controversy while he thanked skipper Ricky Ponting for standing up to him when everybody blamed him.

"The last four weeks have been the most full-on, stressful period of my career. From the initial racism row to the threats about the whole series being called off, my head hasn't stopped spinning," Symonds wrote in 'Daily Telegraph'.

"It's been a rough ride and it's taken a pretty big toll on me personally, but more importantly, on my family, my girlfriend and those close to me."

Symonds, who kicked up a storm by accusing Harbhajan Singh of hurling racial abuse on him, said he was filled with rage when people pointed fingers at him.

"There have been meetings with lawyers, a day in the courtroom, the charges downgraded by the court, fingers pointed and all of a sudden I'm somehow getting the blame.

"To have people questioning my integrity as a person and cricketer is pretty ordinary. Anyone who knows me understands that I'm a very straight up and down bloke, what you see is what you get, so to have people saying I'm not playing cricket in the right spirit really makes my blood boil."

But the all-rounder thanked Ponting for supporting him in such a crisis time.

"It was good of Ponting to stand up for my character. I'm quite happy for the general public to make up their own minds ... But I can assure you I wouldn't take a stand against something unless I really believed in it."