Andrew Symonds says a million-dollar payday may have been the catalyst for the sad breakdown of his friendship with Michael Clarke.
Andrew Symonds has opened up again on the breakdown of his relationship with Michael Clarke, revealing money may have played a part in their falling out.
The two Aussie cricket legends became great mates when they started playing for the national team together but as Symonds’ career came to an end and Clarke’s status rose towards eventually becoming Test captain, their friendship hit the rocks.
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Speaking on The Brett Lee Podcast, Symonds revealed Clarke may have become jealous when the all-rounder was a highly sought-after talent at the emergence of the lucrative Indian Premier League.
Symonds, a big-hitting batter and excellent fielder who could also bowl pace and spin, was the ideal T20 cricketer and became the most expensive overseas player at the inaugural IPL auction, getting picked up by Deccan Chargers for $1.8 million.
“We became close. When he (Clarke) came into the side I used to bat with him a lot,” Symonds told Lee.
“So when he came into the side I really looked after him. That built a bond.
“Matthew Hayden said to me — when the IPL started, I got a pretty penny to go and play in the IPL — he identified it as there was a bit of jealousy that potentially came into the relationship (with Clarke) there.
“Money does funny things. It’s a good thing but it can be a poison and I reckon it may have poisoned our relationship.
“I’ve got enough respect for him to probably not go into detail about what was said.
”My friendship with him is no longer and I’m comfortable with that, but I’m not gonna sit here and start slinging mud.”
Symonds felt let down when he was sent home from a one-day series for skipping a team meeting to go fishing when Clarke was filling in for Ricky Ponting as captain.
After retiring, Symonds criticised Clarke for not approaching former teammates before airing dirty laundry in his autobiography and after casting doubt on the batter’s leadership style in 2015, the former Aussie skipper hit back by referencing his former friend turning up too drunk to play a one-day international in 2005.
“Andrew Symonds went on TV to criticise my leadership. I’m sorry, but he is not a person to judge anyone on leadership,” Clarke wrote in his 2015 Ashes Diary. “This is a guy who turned up drunk to play for his country. It’s pretty rich for him to be throwing rocks.”
Despite the ill will, Clarke said losing Symonds as a mate “killed” him. However, he refused to apologise for putting the team ahead of personal loyalties.
“Some former teammates will take his side, and feed his conviction that I let him down and put ambition ahead of mateship,” Clarke wrote 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.”
Speaking to journalist Robert Craddock on an episode of Cricket Legends in 2018, Symonds said his and Clarke’s friendship was “destroyed” when he threw a drink on the New South Welshman after becoming upset at a character assessment while on tour in the West Indies.
“I threw a drink on him. He didn’t tell me to go to bed, he said something else but I threw a drink on him and what he said to me put me into a rage,” Symonds said.
“What he said to me was nowhere near accurate and that immediate point is where he lost me and I lost him.
“Our friendship was destroyed in that moment.
“He’d said to me, not in these words, but he’d suggested I was a selfish player and a selfish person. The one thing I don’t consider myself to be is that and that really annoyed me.”