30.11.08

The Media and Andrew Symonds

Andrew Symonds does his own thing to whatever he does, whether he is bowling or batting, his batting is in the mould of David Hooks. Legend has it that Symonds, a dreadlocked Queensland larrikin, once turned up barefoot and wearing a cowboy hat for a contract meeting with Cricket Australia's then-chief executive Malcolm Speed. He also graciously ruled himself ineligible for any award at the 2006 Allan Border Medal - he would have been the One-Day Player of the Year - after being suspended for turning up drunk before Australia's embarrassing loss to Bangladesh on the 2005 Ashes tour. Sadly that was true But One day changed everything. Striding out with his team in strife against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup, a game and tournament he never expected to play in, Symonds sculpted a masterly 143 not out in 125 balls. Until that day, he had mustered just 762 one-day runs at only 23; ever since he has averaged more than 45 and become a hero to the masses. "In the past," he admits, "I was a man without a map when I went out to bat." Now he understands his one-day role perfectly - he could have claimed to be the side's most valuable player after pounding three hundreds and taking 21 wickets in 2005-06. His impact on limited-overs cricket was shown the following season after he ripped a tendon from his arm. Without him the team struggled to its worst losing streak in a decade. Symonds proved he was an incredibly quick healer by entering the World Cup mid-tournament and was part of his second consecutive triumph. Symonds could have played for England but dreamed only of wearing the baggy green. In 2004 his fantasy was fulfilled in Sri Lanka . He batted gamely and was dumped after two Tests. Almost two years later Facing the axe, he cracked a huge six at the MCG to open his scoring with 72 from 54 balls, but was dropped on the Bangladesh tour after the previous series against South Africa. Given another opportunity when Shane Watson was injured and Damien Martyn retired, he appeared in his first Ashes series and reached a career high in his second game with 156 at the MCG. Batting with his fishing mate Matt Hayden. Last year with 777 runs in nine Tests against Sri Lanka, India and West Indies. The high was an unbeaten 162 in the first innings at the SCG, which was quickly followed by a lengthy race row involving Harbhajan Singh. These problems did not prevent him becoming the most popular overseas player at the Indian Premier League auction, where he sold for US$1.35m, After the tournament he switched back into five-day mode and a pair of half-centuries in the tight opening contest with West Indies showed his growing batting maturity and sense of security at Test level. By the end of the campaign his average was a respectable 44.65. His off-field attitude has been odd it’s true when he went fishing in Darwin when he should have been at a team meeting. Symonds was sent home from the series he was picked for this series against NZ. As I see it he played well within himself what bugs me is the way the Media, the ACB and even ex cricketers are out to get him just because he has a few beers after the game, to me it was a trumped up job other sportsmen were in that pub and drinking with Symmo according to them it was all B/S it is my opinion as well. Somebody on the ACB is out to get him with the media’s help they will damn journos. More on Cricket

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