The latest chapter of the soap opera that is Andrew Symonds was written in London on Wednesday night when the Australia all-rounder was sent home from the World T20 after breaking rules about alcohol.
Addressing reporters at the Oval, skipper Ricky Ponting said the call to send Symonds back was justified after his latest late night misadventure. “There's no doubt about his capabilities, but there are other things that made the decision an easy one,” Ponting said. “This is not all about him. This is about the team.”
Though Symonds' actions have not been wholly disclosed, it is known that he not only breached team rules, but also stipulations put in place specifically for him as part of his rehabilitation overseen by Cricket Australia.
With the list of previous offences, the decision to send Symonds back seemed to be a logical one for Cricket Australia, and at a press conference in Melbourne, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said as much.
“The breach of team rules of itself was not a major offence but was in effect the final straw after a series of previous indiscretions and in the light of the undertakings Andrew had given,” Sutherland said.
“I am disappointed in Andrew, but I am also disappointed for him after all the work he has done with Australian cricket's support. CA will be encouraging and supporting him with continuing rehabilitation on his return home.”
Symonds, it is believed, might opt for retirement from international cricket after this incident. It is unlikely that his central contract, which runs out on June 30, will be renewed.
Andrew Symonds is no stranger to controversies. The flamboyant cricketer has often found himself in a soup owing to his errant conduct.
March 2009: Asked to leave a Brisbane bar because he was too drunk. This was when Queensland Cricket had said his rehabilitation was "on track" and the all-rounder was on a "last chance" warning from CA over previous alcohol-related misdemeanours.
January 2009: An intoxicated Symonds gave an interview on comedy show 'Roy & HG', where he called New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum a "lump of shit". The CA charged him with violating the code of conduct and imposed a heavy fine.
January 2008: Involved in a racism row with Harbhajan Singh during India's tour Down Under.
June 2008: Fined for missing the team bus for training before the third Test against the West Indies in Barbados.
August 2008: Sent home after missing a team meeting and instead going fishing ahead of Australia's opening ODI against Bangladesh in Darwin. Subsequently dropped from the tour of India.
November 2008: Hit a fan after he hugged him and took a photograph of him drinking at a bar.
March 2006: Teammate Michael Clarke intervenes to stop Symonds from getting involved in a fight with a rugby player at a bar in SA.
June 2005: On the eve of Australia's Natwest series match against Bangladesh which they lost, Symonds goes on a drinking binge with teammates but stayed on late after everyone had left. Suspended for two matches and fined by CA.
( With Agency Inputs)