No Roy, No Tension

Andrew Symonds' likely absence may leave Australia short on experience when they tour India next month but at the same time, it might ease tension in the high-profile series, reckons India coach Gary Kirsten.

Symonds has had a story relation with both the Indian players and the crowds. Booed and barracked in India, he also figured prominently with Harbhajan Singh in the Sydney racism row last summer.

Nursing a hurt ego after Cricket Australia downgraded the racism charges against Harbhajan, Symonds, known as Roy, is cooling his heels after he was sent back home for preferring a fishing trip to a compulsory team meeting.

Though the volatile all-rounder is likely to miss the India series, Kirsten feels it might help in reducing the tension that of late surrounds an Indo-Australian series.

'The Age' quoted Kirsten as saying, "There is a lot of hype around him and the quality of player that he is, and also I gather there is a lot of tension around from what happened in the last series."

"To not have him around...Does that alleviate it? Does it make it better? I don't know the answer. But I don't think it takes the gloss off the Test series," said the South African.

"One thing we must always be aware of is the game is bigger than the individual," Kirsten added.

Should Symonds miss the tour, Kirsten said, Australia would have to draft in inexperienced players and India would do everything to capitalise on that

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh is unfazed by the possibility of Andrew Symonds not touring India with the Aussies for their four-Test series.

Harbhajan, who allegedly called Symonds a 'monkey' at the SCG in January, told the Courier-Mail, "It doesn't bother me whether he is coming or not.

"We are playing against a team. If he features in it, fine, if he doesn't, things don't change much for me. We may have had our squabbles, but that's all part of the game."

In the meantime, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has lent his unerring support to the beleaguered fisherman/cricketer.

"He has our absolute support and we've already gone to great lengths to ensure appropriate processes are in place for him," enthused Sutherland.

"The feedback I have got from inside the team is that they have dealt with it as a welfare issue. There's some discipline issues related to it, but ultimately it's a welfare issue. We all want Andrew Symonds up and going, playing cricket for Australia."


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