Coming out in support of Andrew Symonds [Images], former Australian cricketer Dean Jones has criticised the exclusion of the troubled all-rounder from the national squad.
Symonds was dropped from the Australian squad after he skipped a mandatory team meeting last Friday on the eve of the opening one-dayer against Bangladesh to go on a fishing trip.
''What's the big deal? Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee did some awful things in their time. It's not as if he's hit anyone or racially abused anyone,'' Jones told a local radio station last night.
''All he has done is miss a team meeting. For God's sake.
We send him home and then throw him to the dogs. I think it's disgraceful.'' Former great Doug Walters, however, was not so forgiving and called on the burly all-rounder to clean up his act.
''He has become a bit of a liability at times and he is going to have to pull his head in,'' Walters said. ''Whether he likes it or lumps it, he is a public figure and he should start acting like one. I certainly hope he does start toeing the line because we need a player like Symonds in the side.''
Symonds is holed up in a hinterland retreat south of Brisbane and will not tour India next month as he has taken time away from the game.