Buchanan, Hayden stand by Symonds in his darkest hour

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/symonds-t20.jpg' class='caption'> Andrew Symonds has found support from his former coach John Buchanan and team-mate Matthew Hayden who pledged to stand by him.

Updated: June 06, 2009 13:54 IST
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Beleagured all-rounder Andrew Symonds has found support from his former coach John Buchanan and team-mate Matthew Hayden who pledged to stand by him at the "darkest hour" of his career.

Hayden and Buchanan have said they would work on finally addressing Symonds' alcohol problem after the all-rounders' other team-mates and former cricketers suspect the Queenslander will end his international career following his disgraceful return from the World Twenty20 Championships owing to violation of team rules.

"Andrew is my best friend, (my wife) Kellie and I care very deeply for him," Hayden told 'The Australian'.

"First and foremost it's about getting Andrew in a position where in his heart of hearts he admits that he has a problem, and it is not masked by the carrot of playing for Australia or doing anything else in his life other than just trying to understand the depth of the issue," said Hayden.

"We all know his cricket attributes, he has captivated audiences right across the world and he's revolutionised the way the game has been played. He will do that in other fields of life as well, but first and foremost as a mate we have to get him to the position where we understand the extent of the issues surrounding alcohol and then we can move forward."

Buchanan vowed to mentor and support Symonds through his life and cricket crisis, urging friends of the troubled all-rounder not to desert him.

"I'm a very big supporter of Andrew and I always will be. I want to sit down with him and help him if I can. I am sure he will see me as a true friend," Buchanan said.

"For Andrew's sake, the less that is made of this story, the better. He has got to get back to Australia and adapt to the new situation he finds himself in.

"I don't think it does anybody any good to get on his back too much now. I'm sure he will be the first to admit he has made mistakes."

The Australian Cricketers' Association also pledged to provide Symonds with professional help -- if needed.

ACA Chief Executive Paul Marsh said Symonds would retain the support of the players' union even if he chose to leave the game.

"Does he want to go on, pull the pin or just play IPL? That's the decision before him. Whatever he decides, he will have our full backing and support," Marsh said.

"He has definitely taken on restrictions that other players have not, but he knew that if he wanted to play for Australia again, he had to operate under certain guidelines. It's sad his history has caught up with him. It's up to him now to decide whether he can do that," Marsh added.

Queensland Cricket chief executive Graham Dixon said the Bulls would welcome Symonds back with open arms if he chose to play inter-state cricket.

"Andrew has been with us since under-17s and half his life has been with the Queensland Cricket family and we want to try and help him through this issue," Dixon said.

"It would be a loss to the game. Despite all these indiscretions, he's a crowd-puller and he's a crowd-pleaser with his fantastic ability."

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