Cricket Australia deems Symonds unfit to tour

February 4th, 2009 - 3:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Feb.4 (ANI): Andrew Symonds international cricket career is hanging in the balance after Cricket Australia ruled the troubled all-rounder emotionally unfit to tour South Africa.
The board of directors endorsed the view of CA management that Symonds should not be considered when the selectors meet today to choose the touring party.
The 33-year-old faces an uphill battle to convince his counsellors and employers that he can again represent his country when his situation is reviewed at the end of the Sheffield Shield season next month.
CA chief executive James Sutherland last night suggested Symonds was relieved to have escaped the sack after a series of “setbacks” in his rehabilitation, the most recent his on-air sledge of New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.
“Whilst he is disappointed that he is not able to be selected for the South Africa tour, he is at the same time grateful that he is still a contracted Cricket Australia player,” Sutherland said.
Symonds’’s career will go on the line again before the ODI series against Pakistan in April, around the time the next round of CA contracts is announced.
Symonds did not attend last night’’s Allan Border Medal count in Melbourne, having received permission from CA to instead travel to Cairns for the funeral of Warren Maher, the father of Symonds’’s close friend and former Queensland captain Jimmy Maher.
The selectors are expected to name a Test squad for South Africa with at least two players yet to make their debut at the highest level. NSW opener Phillip Hughes and Victorian leg spinner Bryce McGain have pushed their cases for inclusion with fine showings in recent Shield matches.
Veteran McGain’’s likely inclusion would appear one of the simpler decisions confronting the four-man panel headed by Andrew Hilditch when it meets to select the squad for the three-Test series in which the embattled Australians will try to defend their No.1 Test ranking.
McGain’’s timing in grasping a five-wicket haul in the Shield win over the Redbacks could not have been better, and the 36-year-old yesterday declared he had the tools to succeed on South African pitches, some of which are traditionally unresponsive to spin.
The more vexing question for the selectors surrounds the opener’’s spot vacated by Matthew Hayden.
Hughes presented an irresistible case with scores of 151 and 82 not out in the recent Shield game against Tasmania, but Australia may choose two openers and give them a chance to compete to be Simon Katich’’s opening partner in the three-day tour game that precedes the first Test in Johannesburg.
The selectors will also be buoyed by the return of pacer Peter Siddle for Victoria’’s one-dayer against South Australia at the MCG today. He has recovered from a foot injury that forced him out after the Sydney Test. (ANI)

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