Andrew Symonds's international career last night lay in ruins after he was sent home for breaching Australia's disciplinary code on the eve of the World Twenty20 tournament in England. The Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive, James Sutherland, cited the all-rounder's ongoing conduct in flaunting the rules relating to alcohol as the principal reason behind the move. "The decision has been made due to Andrew, over the past 24-48 hours, breaking a number of team rules," he said. "It's alcohol related and other issues related to team rules. It's about Cricket Australia taking responsibility for its employees." Sutherland intimated that the colourful Symonds, 33, had been drinking in the last chance saloon for some time.
He was almost sent home during the Ashes tour of England in 2005 for arriving at a training session under the influence of alcohol. He was dropped for two one-day matches against Bangladesh in Cardiff. Players and management voted to expel Symonds from the squad for a one-day series with Bangladesh in Darwin last August after he missed a squad meeting because he was fishing. Symonds, who has played for Australia over the past 11 years, winning two one-day World Cups, was fined for partaking in a radio interview under the influence of alcohol earlier this year. He was ordered to undergo counselling before he was brought back. Symonds was omitted from Australia's squad for the defence of the Ashes, but included in the Twenty20 squad due to his appetite for big hitting in the shortest form of the sport. He played four games for the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League last month and has a batting average of 48.14 in the Twenty20 arena. His last competitive Twenty20 match for Australia was against Pakistan in Dubai last month. He is likely to be a key loss for the Australian side, but Sutherland argued the governing body had no option. "In isolation, the breaches that I am talking about are not serious, but in the scheme of things, in the scheme of history, they are enough for it to be the final straw," he said. Australia play their first game of the tournament against the West Indies tomorrow.
The Australia captain, Ricky Ponting, supported CA. "We're all disappointed with what happened over the last 24 hours, losing one of the best Twenty20 players in the world is obviously not ideal," he said. Symonds had won a recall for the series against New Zealand in November, but his personal life continued to prove problematic.
He issued an apology after an incident with the Australia rugby league side when he was involved in an altercation in a bar. "I don't think Cricket Australia could have done any more for him, " said Ponting. "He's been given plenty of opportunity, that's for sure. I want to make it very clear: it was the leadership group of the team that made the recommendation for him to be stood down." email@example.com