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Andrew Symonds to be sent home


Andrew Symonds will never play for Australia again.

The troubled all-rounder has been sent home from England in disgrace, leaving Australia's World Twenty20 preparations in disarray.

An emotional Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland last night said Symonds had "broken team rules" and it was "alcohol-related".

Sutherland said the board would have little option but to tear up his contract.

"We've probably come to the end of the line," Sutherland conceded.

"In isolation, the breaches I am talking about are not serious, but in the scheme of things, in the scheme of history, they are enough for it to be the final straw.

"You might have thought the end of the line should have happened sooner. The decision has been made after Andrew has in the last 24 to 48 hours broken a number of team rules."

It is believed there was no major incident in England but rather a series of dramas which showed Symonds' disdain for team hierarchy.

The leadership group of skipper Ricky Ponting, vice-captain Michael Clarke and coach Tim Nielsen reported to CA that they were concerned with Symonds' behaviour.

"I'm disappointed in Andrew, but at the same time I'm disappointed for Andrew - there's no joy for me . . . in fact, I'm quite sad about it," Sutherland said.

"Andrew is very disappointed and understandably upset, but at the same time there shouldn't be too many surprises, given what we've been through."

CA is likely to face a major backlash over its handling of Symonds, whose off-field issues started as far back as the 2005 Ashes tour when he almost had his contract ripped up when he turned up drunk for a one-dayer against Bangladesh in Cardiff.

He was banned for two matches, but some board members wanted him sacked and former chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns wanted him sent home from the tour.

As recently as February, there were concerns over Symonds' mental state when he was sent to counselling and banned from the South Africa tour after a rambling, alcohol-fuelled radio rant in which he called Kiwi wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum "a lump of s. . .".

"I don't have regrets how we have handled it," Sutherland said. "It is a constant balancing act and today it just tipped too far. This is the final straw. I am not going to shy away from the process we have been through.

"People will make their own judgments. What I can say is that CA has been very thorough in making decisions about Andrew's welfare and the interests of Australian cricket.

"I don't have any regrets about the approach CA have taken and I don't have any regrets about my support for Andrew along the way."

Symonds is expected back in Queensland about noon on Saturday.

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