To Cricket Australia via e-mail:
“As a casual cricket follower, I fully sympathise with the disciplinary action taken against Andrew Symonds, following his ill-advised decision to put fishing ahead of his responsibilities to the Australian cricket team.
As a fly fisherman, however, I deeply resent Cricket Australia’s subsequent statement, reported in the press, that Symonds needs “to get psychological help” and that he has been asked to go on a rehabilitation programme, overseen by Cricket Australia medical staff, in which he will apparently see counsellors about “his state of mind”.
As any fisherman will tell you, it is precisely when fishing that most of us find pretty much all the “psychological help” we will ever need, thank you very much, and it is offensive in the extreme to suggest that an over-enthusiastic angler needs the same remedial assistance as someone who’s never met a bottle he didn’t like.
No doubt you will now waste thousands sticking poor Andrew in a room with some well-intentioned shrink who’ll spend hours quizzing him about bed-wetting and split-personality. All for nothing.
So here’s the deal. In return for a consultancy fee of £25,000, my magazine will put Andrew up over here for a week’s fly fishing on some of the finest waters the UK has to offer, by the end of which we guarantee the man will be mellowness personified.
If he turns you down at that point, you’ll at least have the comfort of knowing it’s an ambition thing rather than a sanity thing.
It ill-behoves me, as an Englishman, to bale Cricket Australia out with anything but some issues run deeper than vulgar nationalism. You’ve kicked one of our own, now we’re all limping.
A copy of this e-mail has been posted to the ‘Trout Fisherman’ website and anglers everywhere await your reply.
Features Editor (stable and well-adjusted)