Melbourne, Sep.1 : Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, 33, is reportedly thinking of quitting the game after being axed from the national one-day squad because he went off on an unauthorized fishing trip.
Disillusioned with his treatment over the "gone fishing" debacle, Symonds is struggling with the demands of being a high-profile cricketer, though it has made him a millionaire.
Symonds, ordered home from Darwin for going fishing and missing a compulsory team meeting, has clashed with Cricket Australia for more than a year and the all-rounder is now mulling over his future and deciding whether his heart is still in playing for his country.
"I have been asked to think about what is important to me and I will take this time to do that," Symonds said on Sunday.
"I would ask that during this time, people respect my privacy and that of my friends and family. I would like to say thanks for the many messages of support I have received over the past day or so," Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.
Symonds was bunkered down with friends, girlfriend Katie Johnson and manager Matt Fearon on Sunday but several sources close to the cricketer believed that he is yet to decide whether he wants to return to international cricket.
The 33-year-old will not know until plenty of soul-searching and advice from close friends and family.
Symonds would lose his 500,000 dollar CA contract if he abandoned the game in Australia. However, there would still be the potential for him to earn big bucks in the sub-continent if he chose to play in the Indian Premier League or even the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Last year Symonds became the highest-paid Australian player in the IPL when he signed a 1.5 million dollar contract with the Deccan Chargers and earned a reported 200,000 dollars for two weeks' work.
The fact that Symonds may be close to walking away from the game comes as no great surprise to many of his teammates, who have started to lose patience with the all-rounder as they watched his attitude deteriorate.
It is also not the first time Symonds has thought of quitting cricket.
In 2002, a depressed and disenchanted Symonds contacted Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and talked about walking away from cricket and reinventing himself as a rugby league player.
In the next two weeks, Australia will pick their team for October's tour of India and there are grave doubts whether he will have his mind sufficiently on the job to continue his career in the sub-continental hotspot.
Michael Clarke, Australia's stand-in skipper, has questioned Symonds' commitment and claimed he needed time away from the game to get his act together.
"The main concern for us is Andrew's commitment to playing for this team," Clarke said.
"There is a number of things that we believe as a leadership and a team that he wasn't fulfilling. That isn't just about on the field, that's off the field, that's attitude."
Symonds has a long history of disciplinary dramas - the most serious when he was nearly sent home from the Ashes in 2005 for turning up drunk for a one-dayer against Bangladesh in Cardiff.
He has endured a turbulent 12 months and felt he was hung out to dry by his CA employers over last summer's race row with controversial India spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Harbhajan, who allegedly called Symonds a monkey during the SCG Test, eventually got off with a slap on the wrist after the charge was downgraded.
Symonds felt let down by Cricket Australia for its handling of the incident - feeling his employer failed to use its muscle to ensure Harbhajan was given a just penalty.
NATIONAL selectors may have provided a pointer to the future by adding New South Wales all-rounder Moises Henriques to Australia's squad for the remaining two ODI matches against Bangladesh in Darwin.
Story first published: Monday, September 1, 2008, 14:17 [IST]
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