Andrew Symonds says he tried to avoid a fight on Sunday but he has a bigger one on his hands as he tries to convince Cricket Australia (CA) he deserves to retain his national playing contract.
The Queensland batsman’s international career could be over as soon as Wednesday if a CA probe led by general manager of cricket Michael Brown delivers a verdict against the trouble-prone 33-year-old.
Symonds flew to Adelaide on Tuesday night to begin preparing for Friday’s second Test against New Zealand and was also to meet with Brown.
A statement from CA on Tuesday showed its desire to move quickly on the incident which occurred at Brisbane’s Normanby Hotel on Sunday as Symonds was celebrating Australia’s 149-run win in the first Test at the Gabba.
Symonds denies he was involved in a “pub fight” with a fan who wanted a photograph. The fan was asked to leave by hotel staff.
“Michael Brown has and continues to interview a wide range of those involved in and around the incident, including taking eyewitness account detail, and a report to CA chief executive James Sutherland is expected to be finalised either late this evening or early on Wednesday,” CA said.
“A final recommendation will be determined after James Sutherland receives the final written report, and he and Andrew Symonds have an opportunity for first-hand discussion, as well as taking feedback from captain Ricky Ponting and coach Tim Nielsen, who had each left Brisbane before the incident.
“He is hoping those discussions can be finalised by this evening after Symonds has travelled from Brisbane to Adelaide.
“James Sutherland said he hopes to be able to make a public statement while he is in Adelaide on Wednesday.”
Symonds was kicked out of the Australian one-day team for the series against Bangladesh in September because he skipped a pre-series team meeting to go fishing, subsequently missing the Test series defeat in India.
He told Channel Nine recently he had struggled to cope with the incident, saying: “At times I was drinking too much and I wasn’t a good bloke to be around.”
The dreadlocked batsman was then recalled to the side for last week’s first Test in Brisbane.
Symonds said on Monday a member of the public had “acted unreasonably towards me”.
On Tuesday at Brisbane airport Symonds appeared drained by the controversy, telling reporters: “I just want to go down to Adelaide and enjoy the cricket, you know. That’s really all I want to do.”
In his statement on Monday, Symonds said he had taken steps to remove himself from the angry fan.
“I was sharing some drinks with other players and close friends and did not in any way provoke this situation,” he said.
Test opener Matthew Hayden baulked at suggestions Symonds should have been chaperoned.
“Andrew’s a big boy. He knows of his responsibilities and he has got to make the decision for himself,” Hayden said on Tuesday.
Symonds says he is battling a “stress-related illness”.
He was upset by CA’s handling of the Harbhajan Singh affair in January, when the Indian spinner was suspended for racially abusing Symonds before the charge was later downgraded to a fine for abusive language.
Symonds hit a massive low in 2005 when he served a two-match ban for arriving at the ground drunk for a one-dayer against Bangladesh in Wales.