Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, one of the game's highly talented but maverick players, on Thursday announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket, bringing an end to a career marked by controversies and disciplinary breaches.
The 36-year-old Symonds, a temperamental and colourful personality whose racial row with Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh made headlines in 2008, cited family reasons for his decision to quit cricket.
He would not be playing for his IPL side Mumbai Indians this season as he was quitting competitive cricket in the wake of the impending birth of his first child.
Andrew Symonds with Harbhajan Singh during IPL IV. Pic/AFP
He has not played for Australia since being sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup in England three years ago but has turned out for several domestic sides and clubs in limited-overs cricket and Twenty20 leagues.
"Effective immediately, I am retiring from all forms of professional cricket," Symonds said. "It is with regret that I will not be able to fulfil my final year of the IPL with the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai Indians and the IPL have both been very supportive of me, but the impending arrival of my first child is a priority," he said.
Symonds made his first class debut in 1994-95 before playing his first ODI in November 1998 against Pakistan in Lahore. He scored 5,088 runs from 198 ODIs at an average of 39.75 before retiring in 2009.
The burly all-rounder made his Test debut in March 2004 against Sri Lanka and scored 1,462 runs from 26 matches at an average of 40.61 before playing his last match against South Africa in December 2008. He has 24 and 133 wickets in Test and ODI cricket respectively.
Mumbai Indians acknowledged the utility of Symonds in the team's winning campaign in the Champions League Twenty20 last year.
"Andrew Symonds was an integral part of Mumbai Indians in season four as well as our Champions League winning team. He was a great team player and the youngsters always looked upto him for guidance. We appreciate and respect his decision and wish him very best in all his future endeavors," Mumbai Indians spokesperson said.
Symonds had been the controversy's favourite child with both his teammates and opponents facing the brunt of his on-your-face attitude. He was involved in a bitter racial row with Harbhajan Singh during the Sydney Test in January 2008 which almost threatened an abrupt end of India's Test tour of Australia Cricket Australia had to deal with his impulsive ways of Symonds when he went fishing in Darwin when he should have been at a team meeting in the lead-up to an ODI series against Bangladesh.
Symonds was sent home from the series and not picked for the tour of India in late 2008. He was rushed back to Australia and was involved in a pub scuffle while celebrating the first Test win and he appeared in three more matches before undergoing knee surgery.
A radio interview, in which he targeted New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, was a factor in him being banned for the South Africa tour. A breaking of team drinking rules led to his exit from the squad in England on the eve of the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup and he found his Cricket Australia contract being cancelled.
He retired from Test cricket to become a freelance Twenty20 specialist, playing for Queensland, Deccan Chargers and Surrey before joining Mumbai Indians.