Melbourne:Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has pipped Olympic stars like Stephanie Rice and Ian Thorpe to emerge as the country's most marketable sportsperson in a survey that has pace legend Glenn McGrath at the fourth spot.
However, the never-ending controversies in Andrew Symonds' career have led to a massive dip in the troubled all-rounder's marketability and he has nosedived from the previous 10th to the 35th spot, according to the 'Sweeney Sports report on Australia's most marketable athletes'.
The same agency had feted Symonds a couple of years ago for being the quickest ever riser in their top 10 list.
Sweeney Sports analyst Todd Deacon said the survey makes it quite apparent that Australian fans were tired of misbehaving sports stars.
"There's no doubt mis-behaving athletes are falling faster and further than they have in previous years," Deacon told 'The Daily Telegraph'.
"Because the whole notion of role models in sport is really on the rise, and when athletes don't live up to that, well, they are being discarded - quickly," he added.
Deacon said the infamous 'gone fishing' episode was a major embarrassment for Symonds as fans began questioning his commitment to the sport.
"It had people questioning his commitment to the baggy green. I mean, playing for our national cricket team, it's seen as a great honour and not something to be taken flippantly," Deacon explained.
Symonds chose not react to the survey with his manager Matt Fearon only saying "no comment, thanks".
Meanwhile, Ponting's former deputy Adam Gilchrist, who recently led Deccan Chargers to the Indian Premier League title, is tied for the second spot in the survey with retired rugby star Grant Hackett.
Former cricket captain Steve Waugh is at the eighth spot along with Olympian Cathy Freeman.
The top 15 most marketable athletes according to the Sweeney Report:
1. Ricky Ponting, 2. Grant Hackett, Adam Gilchrist, 4. Glenn McGrath, 5. Pat Rafter, 6. Ian Thorpe, 7. Stephanie Rice, 8. Cathy Freeman, Steve Waugh, 10. Casey Stoner, 11. Brett Lee, 12. Leisel Jones, 13. Libby Trickett, Layne Beachley, 15. Harry Kewell.