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Out-of-favor Symonds denies he is an alcoholic

AUSTRALIAN allrounder Andrew Symonds says he is not an alcoholic but has blamed binge drinking for poor behavior that caused him to run afoul of cricket authorities.

"I'm not proud of the times that I've drunk too much and been rude to someone or broken team rules," Symonds said in an interview with the Nine Network's 60 Minutes television program yesterday.

"Now I'm out of that environment, that won't happen anymore for those people in that team and for me."

Cricket Australia this month withdrew its one-year contract offer to Symonds, a week after the 34-year-old veteran was sent home from England and the Twenty20 World Cup following another alcohol-related indiscretion.

Media reports said Symonds had gone to a bar, without telling team management, to celebrate Queensland's win in the rugby league State-of-Origin series opener.

"I'd go out and drink too much, too fast," Symonds said. "I'm not an alcoholic. I've been diagnosed as a binge drinker."

Symonds helped Deccan Chargers win the second edition of the IPL last month in South Africa. With an IPL annual contract worth more than US$1.3 million, he is one of the highest-paid players in the league.

Last September, Symonds was ordered to undergo counseling after being expelled from the squad for going fishing instead of attending a team meeting ahead of a limited-overs series against Bangladesh.

He briefly returned for a series against New Zealand before injury sidelined him for several months. Days after his November recall, he was involved in a bar fight with a drunken fan, although he was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Symonds then made disparaging comments about a New Zealand opponent during a radio interview, also while under the influence of alcohol.

He was suspended for two matches in 2005 after arriving for a ODI against Bangladesh hung over after a late night out.


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