Hyderabad: Not so long ago Andrew Symonds was painted a villain, but when the IPL auctions came along, he was sold for a staggering 5.4 crore rupees. Symonds maybe a big hit with the bidders, but he faces an uphill battle to win the hearts of Indian public.
When V V S Laxman called Symonds an “asset to the team,” he may have steered clear of the controversy engulfing the man he will captain soon for the Deccan Chargers in the IPL. However in the city, fans are cautious about adopting Symonds as one of their own.
“The ICC needs to severely reprimand him for his behaviour on field. He has been consistently insulting our players, and the fact that he is playing for Hyderabad at such a high price also adds insult to injury to us,” says a fan of the game.
UPHILL TASK: Symonds may have plenty of money in the bank, but he still needs to earn goodwill.
Another fan thinks Symonds might just learn an important lesson playing with the Indian cricketers.
“We have proved to the world we can buy any player. Once he is in India, probably he can take a lesson or two in sportsman spirit from us,” he says.
It is not only the fans. Even in the Indian dressing room, Symonds is regarded as a difficult individual. While the likes of Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist attempted to build bridges between the teams after the Sydney controversy, Symonds never did.
“Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting are the two people. If there is any argument or if there is any problem, the problems with the Indian side are only with these two people and not with the others,” Manager of the Indian team to Australia Chetan Chauhan says.
Even Justice John Hansen, who decided India’s appeal against Harbhajan Singh’s ban, reprimanded Symonds for saying test cricket was no place to be friends during the hearing.
"If that is Symonds’ view, I hope it’s not shared by cricketers around the world. That would be a bad day for cricket,” Hansen had said.
Without a doubt Symonds has the cricketing credentials and plenty of money in the bank. Perhaps earning a bit of goodwill wouldn't be such a bad idea.