Cricket Australia has warned Andrew Symonds of a possible ban from the Indian Premier League (IPL) if he decides to boycott next month's Pakistan tour because of security fears, Australian media reported on Friday.
Just hours before he became Australia's richest cricketer in the IPL auction on Wednesday night, Symonds declared that he would opt out of the tour, even if CA ruled Pakistan safe to visit next month.
At the request of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the tour has been delayed until March 29 and cut to just three Tests with a hope that tensions in Pakistan will calm down in wake of this week's elections.
While Symonds softened his stance Thursday, claiming the door was "ajar", the CA seemed in no mood to be kind to the star all-rounder and warned that he would be in breach of contract if he ignored the advice of CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), a view which captain Ricky Ponting shared, the Herald Sun reported Friday.
Symonds would have to be given permission by CA to join the multi-million dollar league - a stipulation the IPL has endorsed - that would be extremely unlikely. Some senior CA officials said privately last night that a dangerous precedent would be set if Symonds had his own way.
CA spokesman Peter Young, however, refused to talk specifically about Symonds, who continues to infuriate the board officials.
But Young outlined the process that would await the all-rounder if he were the only Australian to boycott the trip on unfounded safety and security fears.
"Setting Andrew Symonds aside, that's a hypothetical question because at the moment he is telling us playing for Australia comes first," Young said Thursday.
"There are 25 players that have signed contracts to play for Australia. Under the terms of that contract, they are required to play cricket for the nation as and where we want them."
Young further specified that if an Australian player decides to take a break from national duties to take out time to play for any other team, he has to follow certain guidelines as mentioned in the contract.
"If players want to take leave from CA and effectively take time out to play for a second employer, (they) are required to go through a process as spelt out in the memorandum of understanding.
"It would lead them and their second employer to signing an overseas club playing agreement. The player needs our permission before the player can go and do that," he said.
However, Symonds said Thursday that he would wait until late next month before making a call.
"The door is ajar, but you know where I stand on it," Symonds said.
"At the time that happens, I'll have to make a decision that I have to stand by."
Skipper Ponting is of the view that his teammate would find himself in trouble if he decides to pull out of the Pakistan tour.
"It's a difficult question. I think it would be some sort of breach of his CA contract, I would imagine," said Ponting.
"Whether it's unfair or not, we have all signed off on it."
A CA and ACA delegation will head to Canberra within weeks to seek further advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on whether to tour Pakistan next month or not.