Symonds was well behaved during IPL, says Lehmann

June 7th, 2009 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 7 (IANS) Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds may find a safe haven in Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Deccan Chargers team to continue playing cricket, even as serious doubts remain over his international career.
Symonds has been assured he still has a home at Hyderabad, as he touched down in Brisbane Saturday to consider his future after being expelled from the Australian team for the last time during the World Twenty20 championship for a disciplinary breach.

As he considers quitting international cricket, he can make a decision in the knowledge that he has the support of the IPL champions Deccan Chargers, who are coached by former Australian Test batsman Darren Lehmann.

“We have had no problems with him and we are happy for him to play with us,” Lehmann was quoted as saying in The Sunday Age.

“We just want to make sure he is happy, healthy and playing good cricket again.”

Lehmann is also president of the Australian Cricketers Association, which has worked closely with Cricket Australia to help Symonds in his battle with a range of emotional issues including problems with alcohol, which have been at the heart of his disciplinary breaches.

In his capacity as Deccan coach, Lehmann said Symonds had been well behaved during his recent IPL stint, where he did not have to contend with the pressures of the international environment.

“We had no problems with him whatsoever. I just think he wants to enjoy his time playing cricket; no stress, just enjoying the game of cricket.”

The Queenslander was a pivotal figure with bat and ball in the Hyderabad franchise’s winning IPL last month, and has a strike rate of 170 runs per 100 balls in Twenty20 cricket.

Symonds was sent home from England after breaking his promise not to consume alcohol in public while on team duty - he left the hotel without telling anyone after a warm-up match at the Twenty20 world championships and drank at a gathering of teammates.

Symonds can earn $1.35 million for a full season in the IPL and has witnessed the enjoyment of retired Australians Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden in the tournament.

The Australians in England have vowed to improve their reputation in the shortest form of the game.

“No matter what comes along on a tour, as a team you need to stick together. We’ve shown that sort of spirit,” said vice-captain Michael Clarke, who was part of the leadership group that recommended Symonds be sent home.

“It’s certainly not personal. The decision was made for the benefit of the team and I think all of us are trying to focus on what’s in front of us.”

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