Symonds back in spotlight for behaviour

ANDREW Symonds has been defended by his Queensland captain and Cricket Australia counsellor after his drinking habits were again brought into question yesterday.

Symonds, his girlfriend Katie Johnson and other Bulls players and their partners were asked to leave Watt Bar and Restaurant at New Farm at 9pm on Sunday after the controversial all-rounder was reportedly boisterous.

Brisbane afternoon newspaper mX alleged Symonds accidentally broke a glass, was stumbling and also called out loudly to his friends before the group was shown the door and departed without problem.

But Bulls captain Chris Simpson denied Symonds damaged any property and insisted the group was responsible and well-behaved.

“We were enjoying ourselves as a group and when management politely approached us to ask us to finish up, we did so. We left without incident and went home,” he said.

The Watt Bar issued a “no comment” but confirmed the group left without incident.

Queensland Cricket also cleared the players of any unacceptable behaviour as they celebrated the end of the Sheffield Shield season.

“Based on our inquiries today and information we have received, there was nothing to indicate that what took place was outside of acceptable team boundaries,” QC boss Graham Dixon said.

“The players were out of cricket hours, were in a social group with their partners and conducted themselves responsibly.”

The incident comes as Symonds continues to undergo alcohol management and two months after he was given a “last chance” warning by Cricket Australia following a series of misdemeanours.

Despite the backing of QC and his counsellor, it remains unclear what affect the incident may have on the controversial all-rounder's future selection chances for Australia.

Sunday night's incident was brought to Cricket Australia's attention yesterday after a board meeting began in Sydney but it was not discussed by directors.

Privately, officials believe the matter would not have been reported if it was any other player.

But the timing, while undergoing a second period of counselling following his abusive FM radio rant in January, calling Brendon McCullum a “lump of sh**”, is not the best.

The next national squad will be chosen next month.



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