Symonds let Australia down: Ponting

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting says all-rounder Andrew Symonds let himself and the team down with his latest off-field troubles.

Updated: June 04, 2009 12:54 IST
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Australia cricket captain Ricky Ponting says all-rounder Andrew Symonds let himself and the team down with his latest off-field troubles.

Symonds was sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday for what Cricket Australia described as an alcohol-related breach of team rules and other violations.

Ponting declined to give specifics of Symonds' behavior, but said the player broke a "number of his own commitments" in the past 24-48 hours and the decision to kick him off the squad was taken "in the bigger picture" of Australian cricket.

"He let himself down, he let his teammates down and let Cricket Australia down," Ponting said at a news conference at The Oval.

Ponting said Australia is looking for a replacement for Symonds ahead of the team's opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday against West Indies.

"We're all disappointed with what happened over the last 24 hours," he said. "Losing one of the best Twenty20 players in the world is obviously not ideal."

But Ponting said the team would cope without him.

"Hopefully we don't miss a beat from here," he said. "It would be like wishing in a couple of weeks' time that we had McGrath, Hayden and Warne around. That's not going to happen."

It's unclear whether Symonds will be available for the subsequent Ashes series against England. A decision on his future is up to the Cricket Australia board.

"I will back all of my players," Ponting said. "There's no doubting (Symonds') capabilities as a player but there are a number of things around his personal life. You'll never see me not put my hand up for a player who I feel can win a game of cricket. Fortunately for us, this is not an Ashes tour. It's a tour for the World Twenty20."

Symonds' off-field problems date back to Australia's last tour to England in 2005, when he was banned for two matches after arriving drunk to a limited-overs international.

The big-hitting allrounder was ordered to undergo counseling before being eligible for selection again, and won a recall for the series against New Zealand in November.

"I don't think Cricket Australia could have done any more for him, to tell you the truth," Ponting said. "He's been stood down on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, for him and for us, he's come back in and this has happened again. He's been given plenty of opportunity, that's for sure."

Ponting said the latest incidents did not involve any team curfew.

"There's no such thing as a curfew in the Australian cricket team," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you what our team rules are. I want to make it very clear: it was the leadership group of the team that made the recommendation for him to be stood down."

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