Melbourne, Nov.17 : Noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck is of the view that Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds must play in the first test against New Zealand at the Gabba in Brisbane, provided he is in the right frame of mind.
He said that Symonds is capable of changing a match with bat, ball or catch, and described him as a formidable competitor.
But, he cautioned that if Symonds had reservations about returning to the Australian team, or to cricket itself, then he should withdraw.
"If he is not enjoying his cricket, yearns for the fish and the freedom, then he must recognise it and step aside. Cynicism is destructive," The Age quotes Roebuck as saying in an article written for it.
"A player bearing resentment will not perform to the best of his ability and will also spoil the atmosphere. If Symonds' has put the past behind him, then he will strengthen the side. The most reliable way to choose a cricket team is to put yourself in the opposition's boots," Roebuck says.
"With his untamed locks and wild looks, Symonds has a fury absent in his replacements. He adds aggression to the side, a sense of menace missing on the Indian tour, where the Australians made a lot of ineffective noise. His rivals are cricketing conformists, he is a rebel. It does not make him easy to live with or play against," warned Roebuck.
He said that Symonds slow start provides a clue to his character, with its insecurities. His complicated background left him doubting his worth. That is why teammates rush to protect him, regardless of the cost.
"Once established as an important member of the side and in the absence of tempering senior players, he moved too far in the other direction, towards headstrong words and rattled cages. Charming when he chooses, he began voicing opinions about all sorts of matters, started throwing his weight around. It has been a natural reaction to years of self-subjugation," Roebuck writes.
Symonds, he said, needs to recognise that he was on the wrong track or else his return will fizzle out. Australia cannot carry his baggage.