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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Symonds regrets drinking session

Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds
Captain Ricky Ponting and a contrite Symonds on Wednesday

Australia's Andrew Symonds says he "regrets" visiting a Brisbane hotel last Sunday and has apologised to his team-mates for his actions.

Symonds, 33, was drinking with members of the rugby league side who had lost to New Zealand in the World Cup final.

Reports suggest he declined a request to be photographed with a fan, who tried to pick a fight and was ejected.

Symonds says he "acted appropriately" in a personal statement released through Cricket Australia on Wednesday.

"As is well known, I met friends at Brisbane's Normanby Hotel, near the Australian cricket team hotel, on Sunday after the Test finished," said the all-rounder.

"I maintain that I acted appropriately while at the hotel, but I regret making the decision to visit the hotel as I realise I put myself in a compromising position.

"I have told my team-mates that I am sorry to have put them through this distraction at a time when they are trying to prepare for a Test match."

Symonds had only just returned to the Australian squad after his decision to miss a team meeting in August - when he chose to go fishing instead - saw him thrown out of the series against Bangladesh and the tour of India.

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett
In September, the troubled Queenslander was advised to get psychological help and go on a rehabilitation programme, overseen by Cricket Australia medical staff, in which he would see counsellors about his state of mind.

On Wednesday, he revealed he was "still going through a counselling process".

He went on: "I have learnt a valuable lesson from this incident and I know that actions speak louder than words and thatís how I will be judged."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he was satisfied a comprehensive investigation, including statements from hotel management, staff and patrons, supported Symonds' version of last weekend's incident.

"Andrew did not provoke that incident and when approached by the patron in question handled himself appropriately," Sutherland said in a news conference where he sat beside Symonds.

"Whilst Andrew agrees that he should have thought twice about actually going to the hotel, his response when subsequently provoked was restrained and mature.

Andrew's response when provoked was restrained and mature

Cricket Australia's James Sutherland
But Sutherland conceded the incident was concerning given Symonds' issues in the past.

"I thought it important to talk to Andrew and take advice from his professional counsellors to understand why he could be quite open about having a problem with alcohol and then find himself in the spotlight by visiting a pub a few days later.

"I've revisited that advice to ensure that we are not rushing Andrew's progress with his work in managing behavioural issues. That to me is more important than discussing whether or not I should impose curfews or other school-boy type restrictions."

Regarded within Australian cricket circles as a complex character, Symonds indulged in a high-profile drinking session in June 2005 during the early part of Australia's Ashes tour.

The next day he fell over in team practice before Australia's one-day international against Bangladesh in Cardiff and was dropped for two matches.

Symonds remains in the Australian squad for the second Test against New Zealand starting on Friday in Adelaide.

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see also
Australia clinch easy Gabba win
23 Nov 08 |  Cricket
Symonds returns to Australia fold
10 Nov 08 |  Australia
Symonds vows to improve behaviour
16 Sep 08 |  Australia
Symonds left to rue fishing trip
30 Aug 08 |  Australia
New Zealand in Australia 2008-09
23 Nov 08 |  Cricket

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