Symonds was an innocent victim: Cricket Australia

November 26th, 2008 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 26 (IANS) Troubled all-rounder Andrew Symonds has been spared the axe after Cricket Australia (CA) found him to be the innocent victim of an altercation at a Brisbane pub Sunday night.Symonds met CA chief executive James Sutherland and Australian captain Ricky Ponting Tuesday night to give his version in Sunday night’s brawl.

Sutherland said that the report submitted by general manager Michael Brown found Symonds not guilty and said that the cricketer did no wrong when approached by a member of the public seeking a photograph at the Brisbane pub following the first Test victory. The man was reported to have thrown punches at Symonds after the Queenslander turned down his request and was subsequently removed by the hotel staff.

“CA is totally satisfied that Andrew did not provoke that incident and when approached by the patron in question handled himself appropriately. Whilst Andrew agrees that he should have thought twice about actually going to the hotel, his response when subsequently provoked, was restrained and mature,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

Symonds has been cleared to play in the second Test against New Zealand at Adelaide Oval starting Friday.

But Sutherland expressed his disappointment at Symonds’ act of visiting a pub soon after coming out of mental rehabilitation. Symonds had publicly admitted that alcohol had played a part in the off-field problems that caused him to be left out of the Australian tour to India in September.

“Whilst it’s clear that no harm has been done on this occasion, I thought it important to talk to Andrew and take advice from his professional counsellors, to understand why he could be quite open about having a problem with alcohol and then find himself in the spotlight by visiting a pub literally a few days later,” Sutherland said.

“Andrew is no saint and never will be, but his lessons from counselling, reinforced to him by this incident, are that he is committed to making intelligent off-field decisions.”

Symonds also said that he regrets visiting the pub so soon after his mental rehabilitation.

“I have told my team mates that I am sorry to have put them through this distraction at a time when they are trying to prepare for a Test match. I have been and am still going through a counselling process and I give my team mates, Cricket Australia and Australian cricket fans a commitment that I will continue the counselling work which, as I have already said publicly, is something I want to use to help me understand how and why I behave so I can be a better person,” Symonds said in a statement.

“Wearing the Baggy Green is an honour and being part of this group is a privilege that is important to me. I have learnt a valuable lesson from this incident and I know that actions speak louder than words and that’s how I will be judged,” he added.

Symonds was put on mental rehabilitation by the CA after he was kicked out of the Australian one-day team for the series against Bangladesh in September because he skipped a pre-series team meeting to go fishing. Symonds subsequently missed the Test series defeat in India.

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