Semi-retired Australian cricketer and occasional Broncos kit manager Andrew Symonds and former Olympic champion Jodie Henry will launch their TV presenting careers together on an upcoming travel sports show to air on Ten’s 24-hour sports channel One.
Symonds and Henry,who have both dabbled in TV in the past,will be among five presenters on Ultimate Sporting Holidays,which will be shown on One early next year and also feature Candice Falzon and ex-West Coast Eagle Chad Fletcher in presenting roles.
Last month,Symonds said that he stands on the cusp of cricket’s new freelance frontier.
Since being sacked from the Australian team on disciplinary grounds,Symonds has immersed himself in training and strapping duties with the Queensland Broncos,running training drills so many times he could have replaced Peter Wallace.
He enjoyed his time with Ivan Henjak’s squad so much he can see himself becoming a fulltime assistant with his beloved Broncos when the appeal of his other tempestuous mistress,cricket,finally runs out.
Even as the Broncos rode a tidal wave of success all the way to the NRL’s preliminary final,cricket wasn’t divorced from the 34-year-old””s thoughts.
After repeated slaps over the wrist on account of his well-publicised issues with the demon drink,Symonds,a big hitting Queenslander,now stands at the forefront of a “freelance” career in global Twenty20 leagues without the hindrance of national obligations and codes of behaviour.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald,he’s a cricketing vagabond,and a contented one at that.
He stands to be handsomely paid for his range of services,which can still turn a match on its head in the flash of a blade.
“It’s only a very new thing. For me,it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Symonds says of cricket’s T20 revolution.
Symonds is about to head to India for the inaugural Champions League T20,where he will represent the Deccan Chargers in the October 8-23 tournament.
After that,he will be available for any other T20 franchises that may be willing to pay for his tenure during the endless summer.
“It was always going to go that way with the Indian Premier League [IPL. In my last couple of years,they [CA were very nervous about what was happening with the IPL. It came up in contract meetings,” Symonds reveals.
“It is a concern. There’s a lot of money to be made in a short period of time,for a young player breaking into the game and then for an older player who has only got a little bit left. It is a real option.”
Few are better placed to surf the T20 tsunami than Symonds,although he tempers what he considers an exciting time for cricket with a warning for young players who have money on their minds.
“For a young player who may get lured by the money over there but still wants to play for Australia,it mightn’t be a good thing,” Symonds says.
The fortunes of T20 have been in stark contrast to the traditional limited overs contest,a game which itself once turned cricket inside-out and where a dreadlocked Symonds smashed his way to cult status.
Symonds also says 50-over cricket is being killed by over- exposure and admits the glitz is dimming from a playing perspective.
“Four or five years ago,when one-day cricket was really pumping and Australia had a really good side,it was the game,” he says.
“I think with the interest from the public and the new people it’s attracting,I think Twenty20 may have run up equal with it,maybe even overtaken it.”
Symonds says cricketing bodies should act fast,either tinkering with rules or schedules,to ensure 50-over cricket doesn’t go the same way as the aluminium bat.
“Either they may have to make a few rule changes to try and invigorate the game again or just play less of it,” Symonds says.