Teammates rally behind Symonds

June 7th, 2009 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 7 (IANS) Andrew Symonds was happy and cheerful when he returned from Indian Premier League (IPL), but found himself stifled by team regulations, his teammates feel.
Symonds, who has a history of disciplinary breaches, was sent back home from World Twenty20 in England after missing an important team session and staying away from the team hotel.

After serving a banishment for a breach of discipline, the 33-year-old returned to international cricket only last month with Australia’s One-day series against Pakistan before hitting form in IPL.

The all-rounder played a crucial role in Deccan Chargers winning the IPL with some blistering knocks and crucial breakthroughs with his ball.

A teammate noted the cricketer had been a happy, contributing member during last month’s IPL.

“The freedom of that (IPL) suits him,” the player was quoted as saying in The Australian Sunday.

“He has Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist in his side and they’re old-school, they understand Roy has to let his hair down.

“There seems to be a party every second night in the IPL anyway.

“Maybe he just got a shock when he got back into camp to find all those rules and regulations. He had signed up to them, but he didn’t like them.”

The team is mourning Symonds’s downfall. They’ve watched with some concern as his drinking escalated in recent years. At times the Queenslander would drink until he couldn’t speak, before he got there he would be sullen and aggressive. Recently he admitted a string of racial controversies surrounding him and the Indian team had pushed him into a dark place.

“Everybody feels sorry for him,” another player said.

“Hopefully he can get away from it for a while and work himself out. At the moment cricket is the biggest part of his life but maybe cricket is leading to the worst part of it.”

Meanwhile, Symonds has got support from friend and former teammate Matthew Hayden.

“Andrew is my best friend, (my wife) Kellie and I care very deeply for him,” Hayden said.

“First and foremost it’s about getting Andrew in a position where in his heart of hearts and in his very core admits that he has a problem and it is not masked by the carrot of playing for Australia or doing anything else in his life other than just trying to understand the depth of the issue,” Hayden said.

“We have to get him to the position where we understand the extent of the issues surrounding alcohol and then we can move forward.”

Former coach John Buchanan has been involved with Symonds for more than a decade and says he is disappointed to see such a talent end this way.

“Obviously things could have been handled by everybody and if they had been Andrew Symonds would not be in the situation he is in now,” he said.

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