Monday, June 8, 2009

Player Profile (#52)...Andrew Symonds (Australia)


Andrew Symonds (born 9 June 1975, Birmingham, England) is an all-rounder in the Australian cricket team. A two-time World Cup winner, Symonds is a right-handed middle order batsman and alternates between medium pace and off-spin bowling.

Since mid-2008, he spent most of the time out of the team, due to disciplinary reasons, including alcohol. In June 2009 he was sent home from the 2009 World Twenty20, his third suspension, expulsion or exclusion from selection in the space of a year. Many cricket analysts have speculated that the Australian administrators will no longer tolerate him, and that Symonds may announce his retirement.

Andrew Symonds O.D.I career
Symonds is an aggressive right-handed batsman who can also bowl off spin or medium pace, making him a good all-rounder. He is an exceptional fielder, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the fifth equal most run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fourth highest success rate. He is very agile for his size and weight (medium-heavy build; 187 cm tall), has excellent reflexes, is able to take catches well and has a powerful and accurate throwing arm. His nickname is Roy, shortened from the name Leroy, after a coach from early in his career believed he resembled local Brisbane NBL hero Leroy Loggins. Andrew Symonds once won the Cricket Writers' Club's prestigious Young Cricketer of the Year award following a successful debut season with Gloucestershire. He was selected for the England A tour of Pakistan that winter, but pulled out in order to win a place in the Australian side (a decision that turned him into an overseas player for Championship purposes). Symonds's place on that England A tour, which was captained by Nasser Hussain, was taken by Middlesex's Jason Pooley.

He made his One Day International (ODI) debut for Australia in 1998. He opted to represent Australia over England (his country of birth).

As an ODI player, he is known for scoring runs at an excellent strike rate of over 90, with a highest score of 156. He cemented his place in the team in Australia's opening match of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, where he scored 145* to guide Australia from 4/86 to 8/310. Symonds is sometimes branded as a one-day International 'specialist' as his ODI record with both ball and bat are far better than that of his Test match averages.

At the 2006 Allan Border Medal count, Symonds would have won the One Day player of the year award as he polled the most votes, but was ineligible due to a late night of drinking which led to him turning up still inebriated to a match against Bangladesh, after which he was suspended. Symonds won Player of the Series in the 2005/06 Australian VB Series.

Although selected in Australia's 15-member World Cup squad he was unavailable for selection for the first few matches because he ruptured his biceps while batting against England on 2 February 2007 in the Commonwealth Bank Tri Series. Surgery was performed and Symonds underwent extensive physical rehabilitation. As a result he missed the remainder of that tournament as well as the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in New Zealand while Australia suffered their longest losing streak in over a decade. Symonds remarkably made a relatively quick recovery after returning for Australia's win in their last preliminary World Cup match against South Africa. He bowled the final ball of the 2007 Cricket World Cup that was hosted in the West Indies.The final was contested between Australia and Sri Lanka and was shortened to 38/36 overs per side due to rain throughout the day. Even the final few overs of the Sri Lanka innings were played in almost darkness.

During the second final of the 2007-08 Commonwealth Bank Series against India on 4 March 2008, Symonds shoulder charged a male streaker who had entered the playing arena. Symonds, who had once considered a career in rugby league with the Brisbane Broncos, may have faced assault charges had the man taken legal action.

When in Darwin during the One Day Series against Bangladesh in August/September 2008, he left the team to do some fishing, while the Australian cricket team was at a compulsory team meeting and was ordered to be sent home by the coach and acting captain Michael Clarke.

Andrew Symonds Test career

Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting

In March 2004, he made his long-awaited Test debut in Australia's tour of Sri Lanka after showing great form in O.D.I cricket in 2003. However, he encountered difficulty against Muttiah Muralitharan on the dusty, spinning Sri Lankan tracks, failing to pass 25 in any of his four innings, and was dropped after two Test matches. He was recalled in November 2005 following the injury to Shane Watson, as Australia's search for an all-rounder continued. After 5 Tests, with a batting average of 12.62 and a bowling average of 85.00, his position in the team was under a cloud until the 2005 Boxing Day Test. On the first day of the match, he was out caught behind for a golden duck. Then, with his batting average threatening to drop under 10 and bowling average pushing 100, Symonds took 3/50 in the South African first innings before blasting 72 off 54 balls in the second innings (including a new Australian record for the fastest Test fifty - 40 balls) and taking 2/6.

Whilst batting in the second Test in the Australian 2006 tour of South Africa, Symonds was struck in the face of his helmet by a bouncer off Makhaya Ntini. Symonds required four stitches on the inside of his upper lip. Struggling for reliable impact, Symonds was again dropped at the end of this series.

Following the retirement of Damien Martyn during the Ashes in 2006/07 Symonds was again recalled to the team. Scoring just 26 and 2 in his first Test back he found himself under pressure to justify his place in the team. In the Boxing Day Test Symonds faced his biggest challenge when arriving at the crease with Australia in deep trouble at 5/84. After a slow start to his innings he proceeded to score his first Test century, combining with his good friend Matthew Hayden to put on a 279 run partnership and bringing up the century with a six. Symonds was finally dismissed for 156.

During Sri Lanka's tour of Australia he had good form with the bat but had an ankle injury which ruled him out of the rest of the test series.

During the second test against India on 2 January 2008 Symonds completed his second test century, coming to the crease with Australia at 4-119. When Michael Clarke (1) and then Adam Gilchrist (7) were dismissed in quick succession Australia found themselves in poor shape at 6-134. Symonds and Brad Hogg put on a record 7th wicket partnership at the S.C.G (also a record for Australia vs. India) of 173 until Brad Hogg was dismissed for 79. Symonds was the beneficiary of some controversial decisions in the course of his innings. At stumps on the first day, Symonds was not out on 137, and Australia 376-7. By the end of the innings, Symonds finished on 162 not out, when the Australians were finally bowled out for 463.

Symonds misbehaving antics

Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh

In 2007 crowds at the One Day Series in Vadodara, Nagpur and Mumbai were seen to offend Symonds with monkey chants. After the BCCI initially denied the incident at Vadodara took place, further incidents occurred at the other grounds in the series.

In January 2008, Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh received a three-match ban after a complaint that he had racially abused Symonds during the third day of the Second Test at the SCG. It was alleged that Harbhajan called Symonds a "monkey" after Symonds confronted him over touching fellow Australian player Brett Lee. The case was decided by the match referee, Mike Procter, in a hearing held after the match. The BCCI lodged an appeal against the decision. On January 29, 2008, after the hearing of the appeal, at Adelaide by ICC appeals commissioner John Hansen, the racism charge on Harbhajan Singh was not proved and the three Test ban was lifted. However, a lesser charge (Level 2.8 offense) of using abusive language was applied and Harbhajan was fined 50% of his match fee. Hansen later admitted that he "could have imposed a more serious penalty if he was made aware by the ICC of the bowler's previous transgressions" - including a suspended 1 Test Match ban. The ICC claimed the "database and human errors ... played a part in Harbhajan Singh escaping a more severe penalty during his appeal hearing in Adelaide"

"Hansen also criticised Symonds in his report accusing him of swearing at Harbhajan after a friendly gesture by Harbhajan towards Brett Lee. Also it was reported that senior players had written a letter to John Hansen requesting a downgrading of the charge. The letter was signed by Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting and counter-signed by Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds. The stump microphone audio from immediately after the alleged incident between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds was released by Channel Nine.

Symonds was set to play in the August 2008 opening game in Darwin, but instead headed back to Queensland after missing the team meeting on Friday to go fishing. Stand-in captain Michael Clarke said Symonds needs to re-evaluate his desire to represent Australia, saying "The main concern from us is Andrew's commitment, to playing for this team and in my opinion and I know the rest of the leadership team's opinion, you need to be committed 100 per cent".

He was also not selected for the Australian Tour to India, Oct 2008 - Nov 2008, as a part of his misdemeanor. However, after the 2-0 series loss Australia received in India, Symonds quickly become an integral part of Australia's future plans. He was selected to play the test series against New Zealand during November - December 2008. He did not play any significant role in the first test in which Australia won. However after the end of the test, on 22 November, he was involved in an incident in Brisbane and was reported to be involved in a brawl with another patron who had attempted to hug and have his photo taken with the cricketer. He was cleared by Cricket Australia to play in the following test in Adelaide on 26 November.

He then played in the First two Tests against South Africa, but performed poorly. He was omitted from the team for the Third Test due to injury; at the same time many critics called for his omission on performance grounds.

In January 2009, Symonds gave an interview with sports comedians Roy & HG, where he made remarks about the acquisition of New Zealand cricketer Brendon McCullum by the New South Wales Blues to play in KFC Twenty20 final against Victoria. Sounding intoxicated, Symonds called McCullum a "lump of shit", and said that having dinner at the home of teammate Matthew Hayden was enjoyable because he could glance at Hayden's wife. He was charged by Cricket Australia with violating the code of conduct and was fined, following a hearing over the 25-minute "audiotape" with Cricket Australia chief Michael Brown. As a result, he was also barred from selection for a period until he was deemed to have been successfully rehabilitated.

In the meantime, he continued to play for Queensland but was overlooked for Australia's ongoing international matches. He was recalled in April to play in the ODIs against Pakistan.

He was not selected in the 2009 Ashes squad. Shane Watson, Andrew McDonald and Marcus North were selected instead. In early June 2009, Symonds was sent home from the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England, following a late night drinking episode after a team dinner. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland called a press conference to announce Symonds' dismissal, which is likely to mark the end of Symonds' international cricket career. His Cricket Australia contract is also now under review.

Links to more information on Andrew Symonds:

  • Andrew Symonds at
  • The official website for Andrew Symonds

    *Acknowledgements to and owners of pictures and videos used.

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