Andrew Symonds was a misfit in the 90s cricket culture, writes Peter Clarke . Clarke says he was a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, a bit old-fashioned, as he always had been in his life .
Andrew Symonds couldn't resist the wine two days before the 2009 World Cup, after months of abstinence from the bottle.In the evening, he sneaked out of the hotel room and into the bottle, where he drank deep into the night.Later that morning, the captain confronted him and sent him a text saying he was flying back home.But Symonds felt a rush of relief, far from being hurt.A burden had been lifted by that time, playing for his country, his childhood dream.I felt like I was in a cage.Always under scrutiny.I was no longer having fun. He moved to Surrey, where he found joy, where the laid-back spirit of county cricket helped him rediscovered the lost joy of cricket.Playing cricket for him, an unashamed hitter of the cricket ball, was all about finding the joy in him.Yet, as cricket advanced to a more cutthroat, professional arena, he became an anachronism, a misfit.The sport itself, as well as the Australian cricket culture, were rapidly evolving. He belonged to the cricketer who lived in the midst of the transition, in which the game had not lost its rustic charm yet not fully accepted modernism.He felt vulnerable.Shane Warne, a figure that was too imposing to be changed, was one of his like-spirited teammates who refused changes.Others, such as Ponting, sank into the fresh waters, reimaging himself. The values, traditions, and assumptions had mysteriously changed.Former captain Mark Taylor summarized Symonds perfectly.He may have been a bit of an old-fashioned cricketer in a way that might have been useful in the 70s or 80s.He just wanted to entertain. For him, the old-age sport mechanics are not as effective as today.I am passionate about cricket, but it isn't the end all of my life.I like the outdoors, and having a good time, he once told the media.He could not go back, stop time, change it, or even reverse direction. He hated all the new-age jazzadvertisements, partners, interview requests, and endless team meetings, and in the precious time he had, he ravenously took to the bottle.According to him, I would let nothing stand in his way and drank as though alcohol were to disappear from the face of the earth.He was like a heavy-metal band drummer who sat in the company of Eminem and Snoop Dogg.He was the cricketer whose only dream in cricket was to share a glass with his hero, Keith Miller, who was as charismatic as he was colourful. His fishing trip to Darwin would have only underscored his cult, he would have been lauded for his rant in a different period, and all of us would have regarded him as one of those characters, either punching someone at the bar or shoulder charging a streaker.Or more accurately, macho.He may have gagging his Mumbai Indians teammate and forgetting about the incident.Even the monkey-gate incident, which would follow him everywhere and engrave it invisible on his epitaph, would have been seen differently, or at least not have developed into a melodrama it turned out to be. I didnt realize how devastating one player, one incident could be, how much money was at stake, and the consequences, he said.He was oblivious to the changes that happened around him, blissful in his ivory tower.He was at the root of nearly every cricketing controversy in Australia, from January 2008 to 2009.He was depicted as the symbol of decency that had encroaked into Australia's cricket scene. He was fined and dismissed several times, counseled even more times, asked to apologize, and even requested to sign an agreement that, if he was found to be inebriated, he would be immediately removed from the team before the 2009 T20 World Cup.He did, and was deposed forever, as it turned out.Symonds, on the other hand, had no regrets.The only real regret in cricket was signing the deal. He later said, There is no way I'm signing that.Symonds was just being Symonds here, as in the past.True to himself, his intuitions and values were those that may have endeared him to the masses in a different period, but he was judged by a period that was in conflict with his spirit, as a bird trapped in a golden cage.He adored cricket, but perhaps he adored himself even more.