Melbourne: Controversial Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has apologised for calling Brendon McCullum "a lump of shit..." on national radio on Friday.
Symonds's perplexing comment came when discussing the New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman's pending stint with New South Wales in domestic cricket Down Under and hardly helps his already-tarnished public image after recent battles with alcohol and the Australian management.
"I wish to sincerely apologise to Brendon McCullum for my comments during the radio interview," a statement from Symonds relayed. "My intentions for this interview were light-hearted and my comments no way reflect the respect that I have for McCullum both on and off the field.
"I understand how this has been received differently to the way in which I intended to express myself and for that I am extremely sorry. I wish Brendon nothing but success in his cricket and for the future."
Meanwhile, Australian captain Ricky Ponting has stepped up to back Symonds in the matter, hoping for a swift resolve to the minor miscommunication.
"I'd like to have a good conversation with him about the whole situation. As part of the leadership group in the Australian team, it's part of my job to do that," Ponting told AAP. "I know at CA, James Sutherland and Michael Brown have been out of the office and I think they're meeting on the whole scenario on Tuesday, so by then we'll have a much clearer picture.
"I'd like to consider, if I was in that situation, I wouldn't have done that. So Andrew's going to have a look at that radio interview and work out for himself if he's done something wrong. He's not part of our current set-up at the moment, and I don't think there's ever been anything in place to say that he can't actually go out and have a drink. Does he need more rehab? That's up to him and his counsellor to work out."
Symonds is currently on the road to recovery after knee surgery and Ponting hopes the all-rounder will soon return to be an instrumental part in the Aussie line-up.
"He has been vital for us over the last three or four seasons in one-day cricket and, in the last two in Tests, he's been a vital cog in our side. No one can ever doubt his cricket ability, talent and match-winning abilities. So hopefully everything keeps progressing with him and his fitness and we can get to the bottom of this issue, move on and let him worry about his cricket."