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Streak of controversy follows Symonds

Andrew Symonds may well have landed himself in yet another controversy, making things worse for the Australians after they lost the Commonwealth Bank series finals.

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2008 12:34 IST

Andrew Symonds may well have landed himself in yet another controversy, making things worse for the Australians after they lost the second of three Commonwealth Bank series finals, and the series, on Tuesday.

In what the Melbourne Age called "...perhaps the most overtly hostile act of all", Symonds clashed not with an Indian, but with another Queenslander. Symonds, never far from controversy this season, delivered an almighty shoulder charge to a streaker. He landed the man flat on his back and himself, quite possibly, in hot water.

Queensland police have said Symonds could be charged with assault if a complaint was made. "I think Symonds may have a real problem if the man decides to make a complaint," said Brisbane lawyer Neil Lawler, principal of Bell Miller Solicitors.

"Symonds has no right to assault any person that enters the field. Andrew Symonds isn't a policeman. Even a policeman must use reasonable force. I think Symonds is a champion cricketer, but that's reckless," Lawler said.

Another high-profile sports lawyer said Symonds could not claim a citizen's arrest because his actions were "a clear assault". Under the International Cricket Council code of conduct, "physical assault on another player, umpire, referee, official or spectator" during play is a level four offence, which can carry a ban of five Tests, 10 or more one-day matches or even life.

The streaker was unlikely to make a successful damages claim unless he was severely injured. There was no indication he was hurt. The 26-year-old Brisbane man was held overnight and will face court this morning on charges of wilful exposure and interfering with a person engaged in sport. He faces a potential fine of $3,000 for the invasion.

Cricket Australia and the ICC said Symonds, who showed promise as a young rugby league player, would not face a reprimand. "Symonds was out there doing his best to try to save and win a critical match, he doesn't deserve to be interrupted by spectators while he is trying to do that," said CA spokesman Peter Young.

At the receiving end

Making full use of his pre-season training with the Brisbane Broncos rugby league club, to flatten the streaker. With Symonds and fellow Queenslander Matthew Hayden at the crease trying in vain to resurrect the Australian innings, the streaker ran on to the Gabba ground, pursued by almost a dozen police and security guards.

But the gangly intruder made the mistake of running too close to the burly Symonds, who dropped his shoulder into the streaker and sent him flying. Police then pounced on him as he was lying dazed at the feet of umpire Simon Taufel.

It is not the first time Australian cricketers have taken matters into their own hands when streakers have interrupted play. In 1982 Terry Alderman injured his shoulder when he tackled a streaker in Perth, and in 1976 Greg Chappell used his bat to spank a streaker who ran on to Auckland's Eden Park after the Australian captain had scored a century.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting played a straight bat when asked about the tackle, saying he hadn't seen the incident as he was in the dressing room at the time. Australia lost the match by nine runs and with it the tri-series.