Clarke, Ponting raise doubts over Symonds’commitment

August 31st, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 31 (IANS) Two of Andrew Symonds’ strongest supporter in the Australian cricket team — Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke — have raised serious doubts over his commitment to the team. The 33-year-old arrived home in Brisbane - wearing casual clothes, not team uniform - and was whisked out of the airport with the aid of security– after he was banned from the ODI series against Bangladesh.

Symonds was sent home from Darwin because he missed a compulsory team meeting Friday for a fishing trip.

Team hierarchy believed the all-rounder’s fishing trip smacked of putting himself first and came as the final straw after a handful of recent incidents which made them question his duty.

“It’s so hard to play for this team,” Clarke was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald.

“In my opinion, we are the greatest sporting team in the world, and we have standards. They may be higher than other teams, but if you don’t fulfil those standards, unfortunately, you’re not going to be a part of our squad,” said Clarke who is leading the team in absence of Ponting, who is nursing a wrist injury.

“The main concern for us is Andrew’s commitment to playing for this team. In my opinion and the rest of the leadership group’s opinion, you need to be committed 100 per cent to all facets of being an international cricketer.”

Ponting, who urged selectors to stick with Symonds early in his career despite his repeated breaches of team discipline, was consulted by the team management before arriving at a consensus on Symonds.

“Obviously, having Ricky back at home, I’ve spoken to him a lot, especially over the last 24 hours,” Clarke said.

While not in the same league as showing up for a game drunk, which Symonds did in Cardiff in 2005, and wanting to fight a rugby player in South Africa in 2006, the latest indiscretion has put his brilliant playing career in jeopardy.

Cricket Australia (CA) operations manager Michael Brown Saturday night confirmed Symonds had been told before that his playing contract would be torn up if he was ever involved in another serious incident.

Clarke and CA officials said Symonds had to regain the respect of his team-mates before he could play again.

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