Andrew Symonds, the former Australia allrounder, has announced his retirement from professional cricket, citing family reasons. He hasn't played for Australia since being sent home from the World Twenty20 in England three years ago, but has turned out for several domestic sides in limited-overs cricket.
His only current contract was with the Mumbai Indians, but he will not be participating in this year's IPL. "Effective immediately, I am retiring from all forms of professional cricket," Symonds said. "It is with regret that I will not be able to fulfill my final year of the IPL with the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai Indians and the IPL have both been very supportive of me, but the impending arrival of my first child is a priority."
Symonds, 36, had cut ties with his home side Queensland before the 2010-11 Big Bash, and has only played for Mumbai since. He was snapped up for $850,000 at the IPL auction last year, but he had an indifferent time with Mumbai. Symonds failed to make a half-century in either the IPL or the Champions League T20 in 2011, and struggled to hold down a permanent spot in the line-up.
Mumbai thanked Symonds for his performance in 2011. "Andrew Symonds was an integral part of Mumbai Indians in season four as well as our Champions League-winning team," a team spokesman said. "He was a great team player and the youngsters always looked up to him for guidance."
A two-time World Cup winner, Symonds was an acknowledged master of limited-overs cricket. A combination of big-hitting, tigerish fielding and an ability to bowl either spin or medium-pace made him an indispensable part of the Australia side for much of the 2000s. Picked on his undoubted but as yet unfulfilled promise for the 2003 World Cup, Symonds crashed a match-shaping century against Pakistan, hours after the team had been stunned by Shane Warne's withdrawal due to a drugs offence.
He remained integral to the ODI team thereafter, though given to occasional bouts of indiscipline. Symonds was dropped from the team in England in 2005 when he turned up for an ODI against Bangladesh in Cardiff while still under the influence of alcohol. The issue of drinking would re-emerge in 2008.
At the time it seemed Symonds had belatedly transferred his ODI influence form to Test matches, but he became embroiled in the biggest controversy of his career after alleging that India offspinner Harbhajan Singh racially abused him in the Sydney Test in 2008.
The fall-out from the episode, which had Harbhajan's original ban reduced to a fine after Cricket Australia cut a side-deal with an indignant Indian board in order to save the tour, caused Symonds to become disillusioned and increasingly wayward in his lifestyle, both with and away from the national team.
His international career was hit by more trouble later that year, when he missed a compulsory team meeting to go on a fishing trip ahead of a one-day series against Bangladesh. He was left out for the India tour which followed, as well as the visit to South Africa soon after.
Symonds was given a chance to prove himself once more at the World Twenty20 in 2009, but an alcohol-related issue prior to the tournament brought his Australia days to an end.