Sunday, 14 September 2008

Ben on...bad boys

So the news about Andrew Symonds is that he has been dropped from the Australian team for the upcoming tour of India for reasons of poor discipline, most notably his failure to show up for a team meeting, choosing to go fishing instead. He was dumped from the series against Bangladesh for this misdemeanour, after which he went to ground and was reportedly considering quitting international cricket. Apparently, we were told, he was suffering the stress of being a top-flight cricketer, like Trescothick and Tait before him, and that he is seeing a psychologist to get back on track.

For someone so evidently self-confident and reportedly laidback, this seems an unlikely theory. This report suggests that Symonds is less like Trescothick and Tait and more like Shoaib Akhtar, with alcohol in place of performance enhancing drugs and fishing in place of intraparty biffo. It isn't stress that's getting in Symonds' way, but his over-sized ego.

Whatever the reason, he's going to have to scratch India off his to-do list. And you'd have to say that that is a damn shame – Symonds' form has been outstanding recently and he has a great record against India. Myself though, I've never been a fan of the clown makeup, and his naked unfriendliness on the field makes him an ugly player to watch. No doubt he'll be back for the series with NZ, but I just hope that he has been knocked down a peg or two.

Meanwhile, our own larrikin Jesse Ryder is set to make his test debut in the Bangladesh series. Ryder knocked himself down a couple of pegs and is returning to the team chastened and apparently ready to make amends. This means not drinking while in Bangladesh, which might not be too much of a challenge.

It's awesome to see him back. He's tipped to play at 4, where he will fit right in to a top order with the promise of talent but bugger all experience. Assuming a top 5 of How, Redmond, Taylor, Ryder and Flynn, we're looking at a total of 26 caps.

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