Sports - Symonds may never play for Australia again
MELBOURNE: Volatile all-rounder Andrew Symonds may already have played his last match for Australia, the Cricket Board said on Tuesday. In a clear indication that Cricket Australia is looking at life beyond Symonds, the CA chief executive said Symonds may have well be "lost to the team" but asserted there are plenty of quality players who can fill the void. "It would be a great loss but, at the same time Australian cricket is lucky to have exciting young talent that is knocking on the door, waiting on the fringes," Sutherland said. Symonds' absence would provide a gilt-edged opportunity to players like Shane Watson, Sutherland said. "People like Shane Watson may well get the opportunity they've yearned for so long in his absence." Symonds' career hit the crossroad after he was sent home for preferring a fishing trip to a compulsory team meeting, an incident that gave rise to questions about his commitment to the team. Symond's act had the Australian leadership group enraged and CA was not amused either. On Symonds' chances of never playing for Australia again, Sutherland said, "I don't think that's impossible." "I think the message the Australian players have sent is that we want Andrew Symonds in our team, but we want Andrew Symonds absolutely committed and wanting to be there. They're really asking him that question," Sutherland said. "If he can't answer that question, it may well be that he's lost to the team," the CA CEO added. On whether the IPL money was behind Symond's change in attitude, Sutherland said, "It's hard to say. He only played in the IPL for two weeks." "Really I think there are a whole lot of factors and without Andrew sitting down and talking through some of his issues I don't think anyone really knows the answer to how he's been affected," he added. Sutherland was also happy with the way the leadership group, particularly stand-in captain Michael Clarke, handled the episode. "I was really proud of them the way they did it. They could have taken a short-term view of it," Sutherland said. "There were obviously things going on within the team and they're very conscious of the huge program coming up with a very important series against India, a big summer against South Africa and an Ashes series next year."