Andrew Symonds friendship loss 'most painful' for former captain Michael Clarke
Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has revealed his pain at the breakdown of his friendship with former team-mate Andrew Symonds.
In his autobiography, released on Tuesday, Clarke details his falling out with the all-rounder following his rise to the vice-captaincy and an infamous episode during a one-day series against Bangladesh in 2008.
In that series Symonds was sent home from the Australian city of Darwin after going fishing instead of attending a team meeting.
Despite his regret at the lost bond, Clarke is unapologetic for placing the team first in agreeing with captain Ricky Ponting, absent from the series due to wrist surgery, about disciplinary action against Symonds.
"Some former team-mates will take his side, and feed his conviction that I let him down and put ambition ahead of mateship," Clarke writes in My Story.
"I would say that he let me down too – that if he had understood mateship as a two-way street, he would have seen that I had to do what was right for the whole team."
Symonds' international career fizzled out the following year and his relationship with Clarke never recovered. But, according to Clarke, the all-rounder's resentment towards him stretched back further than Darwin and may have been linked to the Queenslander's own surprising ambitions to lead Australia.
"During the West Indies trip [in 2008], Symmo has said something that surprises me: that he would like, one day, to be considered for the Australian captaincy. That is the first I knew of it, but I can understand," Clarke writes.
"He has great leadership qualities and a cricket brain as good as anyone's. I sense that the issue is driving a bit of a wedge between him and me.
"From Symmo's point of view, his knockabout mate, his drinking and fishing buddy, is being groomed for the captaincy and getting all the royal treatment from the hierarchy, whereas he is being dealt a rough hand.
"We're soul brothers, and it doesn't seem fair to him that I am the golden boy while he is the outcast."
At one point, Symonds poured a glass of wine over Clarke's head at a restaurant in Barbados in the presence of West Indies cricket great Brian Lara.
Clarke says that losing the friendship of Symonds "kills me".
"Ever since Warney's retirement in 2007, Symmo has been my best friend in the Australian team and my favourite cricketer to play with," Clarke writes.
"After he is sent home from Darwin, I try to catch up with him and make amends and rebuild the friendship. I continue this effort on and off for years and we play together again, but it's never the same.
"When I become captain, I will be determined to do things a better way. It will cost me other friendships. None will leave as much pain as the one I lost with Andrew Symonds."
- Sydney Morning Herald