Symonds to return as a specialist batsman

MELBOURNE: Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds will return to first-class cricket next week as a specialist batsman and is likely to be used in the same capacity when he returns to the national team.

The 33-year-old, who is recuperating for almost a month now after a knee surgery, will return to first-class arena for Queensland in a Sheffield Shield clash against Western Australia starting at the Gabba next week.

"I have been sent the medical reports and they show he is well ahead of time," Queensland coach Trevor Barsby said.

"The knee problem just came from wear and tear over the years and the surgeons scraped the knee, fixed some floating bone and did some general maintenance.

"Reading the medical reports has given me a lot of confidence that he will be back playing top-level cricket very soon. He should be available for the Shield game next week and we will play him just as a batsman," Barsby said.