Controversial all-rounder Andrew Symonds has been banished from Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup squad in England for breaking team rules.
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland told a press conference in Melbourne last night that an alcohol-related incident resulted in Symonds being sent home.
Mr Sutherland said the breaking of a number team rules by Symonds in the past 24 to 48 hours was “the final straw”.
“In isolation the breaches that I am talking about are not serious, but in the scheme of things, in the scheme of history, they are enough for it to be the final straw,” Mr Sutherland said.
“I’m disappointed in Andrew but at the same time I’m disappointed for Andrew.
“There’s no joy in me standing here tonight and advising you of this and in fact I’m quite sad about it.
“But at the same time we must balance the interests of Australian cricket and the Australian cricket time with those of the welfare of individual players.”
Mr Sutherland says Cricket Australia is reconsidering a contract offer to Symonds for the 2009/10 season.
“Tonight we have also advised him that we will take the (contract) offer off the table at this stage,” he added.
“We all understand Andrew has had his fair share of problems and challenges over the last year or so.
“Andrew is very disappointed and understandably upset, but at the same time there shouldn’t be too many surprises, given what we’ve been through.”
Side let down
Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting told a press conference at The Oval in London that the entire team has been let down by Symonds’ latest breach of team rules.
Ponting says the team must move on.
“I think we’re all a bit disappointed with the events of the last 24 to 48 hours, to tell you the truth,” he said.
“On the eve of a very big tournament for us to lose one of our better performing Twenty/20 players right now is far from ideal.
“But we’ve got to move on as quickly as possible .
“Our first game is on Saturday. We’ve now got to focus on the 14 players we’ve got remaining in our squad.”
Symonds was named to the squad at the beginning of April after CA was advised he had been sufficiently counselled to resume top level cricket.
He has been working through a counselling process after a string of behavioural incidents, combined with injury, saw him banned from selection for the tour of South Africa.
In January, Symonds was fined $4,000 for labelling New Zealander Brendon McCullum a “lump of s***” on radio.
Last year, the all-rounder was expelled from the team for missing a compulsory team meeting to go fishing and in November was involved in an altercation with a patron at a Brisbane hotel.
During the 2005 Ashes tour Symonds showed up drunk for a one-day game and was threatened with the sack by Mr Sutherland.
Mr Sutherland says he does not regret giving Symonds a number of chances.
“We’ve relied on experts who’ve been working very closely with Andrew,” he said.
“I don’t have any regrets about the approach that Cricket Australia has taken and I don’t have any regrets about my support for Andrew along the way.
“We are where we are and we’re moving forward from here.”