Symonds exonerated over bar fight allegations | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Symonds exonerated over bar fight allegations

Andrew Symonds' international career will continue after Cricket Australia cleared him of any wrong doing in a widely-reported bar fight.

cricket Updated: Nov 26, 2008 14:33 IST

Andrew Symonds' international career will continue after Cricket Australia cleared him of any wrong doing in a widely-reported bar fight.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland on Wednesday said he was satisfied that a comprehensive investigation, including statements from hotel management, staff and patrons, supported Symonds' version of an incident involving a drunken fan on the weekend.

A man is reported to have thrown punches at Symonds after the troubled allrounder declined to have his photograph taken with him on Sunday night. The man was ejected by hotel security staff. "CA is totally satisfied that Andrew did not provoke that incident and when approached by the patron in question handled himself appropriately," Sutherland said in a news conference where he sat beside Symonds.

"Whilst Andrew agrees that he should have thought twice about actually going to the hotel, his response when subsequently provoked, was restrained and mature."

Symonds, 33, was celebrating Australia's first-test win over New Zealand at a popular Brisbane pub on Sunday evening, along with several teammates and members of Australia's rugby league team. Reports of a bar fight emerged on Monday morning and the Cricket Australia investigation continued as Symonds traveled to Adelaide, despite the player's public statement denying any wrong doing. Symonds, a popular figure in Australia for his big hitting and 'knock about' attitude, will be allowed to play in the second test against New Zealand starting here Friday.

However, Sutherland said he was disappointed that Symonds had placed himself in a compromising position so soon after admitting that alcohol had contributed to the off-field problems that led to him being sent home from a series against Bangladesh and barred from last month's four-test series of India.

Symonds was sent home from the northern city of Darwin in September for going fishing instead of attending a team meeting ahead of the three-match limited-overs series against Bangladesh. He was ordered to undergo counseling for that and a range of issues, including disenchantment with national cricket authorities over the handling of his racism allegations against Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh in January.

Symonds has a checkered disciplinary record in the national team and was warned in September that his playing contract would be torn up if he misbehaved again.

Symonds' worst indiscretion occurred in 2005 when, after an all-night drinking binge, he reported still intoxicated for a limited-overs international against Bangladesh in Cardiff. He was banned for two matches and narrowly avoided being sent home from Australia's Ashes tour of England.

After missing the 2-0 series loss in India last month, he was only recalled to the test lineup the week before hitting the headlines again.

"Whilst it's clear that no harm has been done on this occasion, I thought it important to talk to Andrew and take advice from his professional counselors, to understand why he could be quite open about having a problem with alcohol and then find himself in the spotlight by visiting a pub literally a few days later," Sutherland said. "Andrew is no saint and never will be, but his lessons from counseling, reinforced to him by this incident, are that he is committed to making intelligent off-field decisions." Symonds insisted he acted appropriately in the incident but regretted going to the hotel.

"I've told my teammates that I'm sorry to have put them through this distraction when they are trying to prepare for a test match." Symonds said he was continuing with his counseling and treatment for stress-related issues.

"I give my team mates, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans a commitment that I will continue the counseling work which is something I want to use to help me understand how and why I behave so I can be a better person," he said. "It is something with which I am making progress, but it is a work in progress. "I have learnt a valuable lesson from this incident and I know that actions speak louder than words and that's how I will be judged."