Symonds’ return should be carefully managed, says Graeme Smith

April 10th, 2009 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, April 10 (IANS) South African captain Graeme Smith feels that Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds’ return to international cricket should be carefully managed.
Smith, who had a clash with Symonds at a Cape Town nightclub during Australia’s 2006 tour, feels that Symonds’ return to international cricket has the potential to be disruptive again.

Symonds has a long history of alcohol-related incidents and has been recalled to Australia’s one-day side following a troubled summer and a knee operation.

Symonds, a member of two-time World Cup winning team, has been named in Australia’s 14-man squad for the one-day series against Pakistan starting in Dubai from April 22.

“He has a lot of experience, he has played a lot of key knocks for them at five. He does provide them with a little bit more balance I guess, he gives them a few bowling options. He’s a great fielder,” Smith was quoted as saying by the Australian media.

“In terms of a cricketer, I think they’d love to have him back. I don’t really know how he’ll impact the team in his personality and what has gone on, how that’s going to affect the team environment. It can be disruptive if he still has issues and it can disrupt other players. So I guess how they manage it is going to be the key.”

“He has really moved into a new phase of life and made an effort in terms of improving his lifestyle. That really made it a lot easier for us and I guess that onus is going to be on Andrew Symonds when he joins the squad.”

Smith also said that he was not sure about how Herschelle Gibbs would fit back into the team environment after completing a month-long alcohol rehabilitation course in early January.

“You always have apprehension when Herschelle is coming back into the team environment,” Smith said. “But I think the key is Herschelle has taken responsibility for himself. He has really fitted back into the (team) environment, he has handled himself extremely well since he has come back.”

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