Symonds may never play for Australia again: cricket board chief

September 9th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Sep 9 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has said that troubled all-rounder Andrew Symonds may never represent the country again but has added that there are many talented players like Shane Watson to replace him. “It would be a great loss but, at the same time, one of the great things Australian cricket is lucky to have is exciting young talent that is knocking on the door, waiting on the fringes,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by ABC Radio here Tuesday.

“People like Shane Watson may well get the opportunity they’ve yearned for for so long in his absence.”

Watson’s chance may come next month as Symonds is not expected to tour India for the four-Test series in October and early November.

The 33-year-old Symonds was suspended for the series against Bangladesh after he went fishing instead of attending a compulsory team meeting in Darwin. Since then he has been put on rehabilitation and has consulted a sports psychologist.

Asked if Symonds may never play for Australia again, Sutherland replied: “I don’t think that’s impossible. I think the message the Australian players have sent is that we want Andrew Symonds in our team, but we want Andrew Symonds absolutely committed and wanting to be there. They’re really asking him that question. If he can’t answer that question, it may well be that he’s lost to the team.”

Sutherland doubted the huge money and exposure of the India Premier League, when Symonds became the highest overseas paid player at $1.5 million, was the sole reason for the Queenslander’s change of attitude.

“It’s hard to say. He only played in the IPL for two weeks,” Sutherland said.

“Really I think there are a whole lot of factors and without Andrew sitting down and talking through some of his issues I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to how he’s been affected.”

Sutherland praised the firm stand of the leadership group, particularly stand-in captain Michael Clarke. Injured captain Ricky Ponting was also consulted along with coach Tim Nielsen and manager Steve Bernard while suspending Symonds.

“They see that the opportunity for him to rehabilitate himself and get himself right is probably only here and now because once they get on the road, it’s going to be really hard for them,” he said.

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