Symonds did nothing wrong: Bar Manager

Melbourne, Nov 25 (UNI) Andrew Symonds, who was involved in a brawl with a patron, has been backed by the Brisbane hotel manager saying that the all-rounder was being harassed by a man in the pub and he did nothing wrong.

Symonds was involved in an altercation with a patron at the Normanby Hotel in Brisbane on Sunday night, where he was having a drink with members of the Australian rugby league team hours after Australia thrashed the Kiwis by 149-run at Gabba.

Cricket Australia (CA) is, however, investigating the incident at the Normanby Hotel.

Mark Lassman, the hotel manager, said, ''Symonds was drinking light beer, was not inebriated and did not start the fight.

''A patron tried to hug and take pictures of Andrew Symonds, However, Symonds declined the invitation and after he was further harassed, the patron was required to be removed,'' Lassman was quoted as saying by the ABC.

''The incident was not a result of Andrew Symonds doing anything wrong and it's disappointing that sportsmen cannot socialise without being harassed,'' he added.

The Sydney Morning Herald had, however, reported that Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and Jason Krejza were also in the bar on Sunday evening but were not with Symonds at the time when the incident took place.

The paper also reported, ''A man, believed to be an official with the Australian armed forces, allegedly threw two punches at Symonds after being refused a photograph and witnesses said Symonds left the bar shortly afterwards.'' CA's cricket operations manager Michael Brown is investigating the incident and is expected to report back to the chief executive James Sutherland within the next day.

''There were a number of our players in the bar though not with the Symonds group at the time,'' Cricket Australia's Public Affairs Manager Philip Pope said on the ABC.

''We just need to get a bit more time to work out exactly what did and didn't happen in the bar. After that a report will be compiled by Michael Brown. I would imagine that the report will be completed either later today or early tomorrow.'' In a statement, the Cricket Australia has said a final recommendation would be determined after Sutherland received the report and discuss the matter with Symonds, as well as after taking feedback from captain Ricky Ponting and coach Tim Nielsen.

Ponting and Nielsen have already left Brisbane before the incident occurred and Sutherland hopes to have completed those talks by this evening.

Meanwhile, Symonds will travel with the Australian team for the second Test against New Zealand at Adelaide, which starts on Friday.

The Gabba Test was, however, Symonds' first official appearance for the Australia following his axing from the national squad for the go-fishing saga in August.


Story first published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 17:22 [IST]
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