Sydney, Sep 23 (UNI) When his teammates flew to India for their biggest challenge since the Ashes, volatile allrounder Andrew Symonds took his first step back from cricketing purgatory with a low-profile return to his club side Gold Coast Dolphins in Brisbane suburbia.
Symonds, who was dropped from the Australian squad after he missed an important team meeting for the sake of a fishing trip in Darwin, made a step ahead in his career with a low-profile but successful play on field.
The 33-year-old represented his club side Gold Coast Dolphins hitting a composed 30 of 52 balls.
The Queenslander, however, was cheered by his dad Ken and mom Barbara as he took on a University side containing former Test batsman Martin Love.
Showcashing some promising signs at the bowling crease, the dreadlocked allrounder finished with the figures of 2-25 (8.1 overs) in an outing, which he could be well pleased with.
Symonds, who last week insisted he would return to the Australian side a better person, is expected to return to training for the Queensland Bulls today.
''It was not too bad really but I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow,'' Symonds said after the play yesterday.
''It was nice to get out there and have a hit and run around and catch up with a few of the boys. I am looking forward to getting back into a bit of a routine at Bulls training this week,'' said the star all-rounder, who was two times part of the World Cup winning team.
Queensland Chairman of Selectors, Ray Phillips, who watched Symonds play, said, ''He wants to play for Australia again and playing club cricket is the first step in that goal,'' Phillips said.
''We didn't prompt him to play,'' he added.
Symonds still has several major hurdles to jump before he can be considered for a recall to the Australian side this summer.
He has to return to the first-class arena but, more importantly, regain the trust and respect of his teammates, who felt let down by his actions in Darwin and other disciplinary lapses.
However, the next step in Symonds' comeback could be next weekend when Queensland take on visiting Indian Premier League team the Kolkata Knights Riders in several Twenty20 matches.
Last night, the 15-member Australian team, led by Ricky Ponting, flew to India for their four-Test tour. The first Test begins on October 9.
The team will train for a week in Jaipur, playing their first match of the tour this Saturday against an Indian academy team.
The World Champions without Symonds and with a pair of uncapped spinners in Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza will enter the subcontinent as outsiders with the bookmakers.
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