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Symonds sent home in shame

AUSTRALIA allrounder Andrew Symonds is being sent home from the World Twenty20 tournament in England for disciplinary reasons, Cricket Australia said yesterday.

CA Chief Executive James Sutherland told a hastily-arranged news conference in Melbourne broadcast on national television that Symonds had been ordered home for alcohol-related issues.

"The decision has been made after Andrew, in the last 24 to 48 hours, has broken a number of team rules," Sutherland said.

"In isolation those breaches are not significant but in the context of the commitment that Andrew has made to his teammates and Cricket Australia over the last six to 12 months they are the final straw."

Symonds was a notable absentee from Australia training at The Oval in London where captain Ricky Ponting held a news conference.

"He has let himself down, his teammates down and Cricket Australia down," Ponting said. "There is no doubting his credentials as a player but there are a number of his own commitments that he has broken over the last 24 or 48 hours.

"This decision is all about the bigger picture, all about having the best team we can possibly have and bringing on the next generation of Australian players."

CA said it was seeking clarification from the International Cricket Council on whether it can name a replacement in its Twenty20 squad.

Sutherland said Symonds will fly back to Australia immediately and his international career remains in doubt with his contract due to expire at the end of this month.

Symonds had been offered a new deal but Sutherland said that was now under review.

"Tonight we have also advised him that we will take the offer off the table at this stage," Sutherland said.

Off-field problems

Symonds, 33, has been dogged by off-field problems during his career and only recently rejoined the team after undergoing counselling. He played an important role in the Deccan Chargers' recent title win in the Indian Premier League in South Africa.

The Queenslander was almost sent home from the last Ashes tour of England in 2005 for turning up to a training session still under the influence of alcohol. Senior players and team management voted to send him home from a one-day series in Darwin last year after he missed a team meeting to go fishing.

Earlier this year, Symonds was fined for a drunken radio interview and ordered to undergo counselling before being reconsidered for selection.

"We all understand that Andrew has had his fair share of problems and challenges over the last year or so and I'm very comfortable with the approach CA has taken in supporting him and helping him through that," Sutherland said.

"I'm disappointed but at the same time I'm disappointed for Andrew," Sutherland said.

Symonds, who has played 26 tests and 198 one-dayers, was picked for the Twenty20 World Cup squad but was overlooked for the Ashes team.


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