SYDNEY: Disgraced Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds said Sunday he had been diagnosed as a binge-drinker, not an alcoholic, and had felt "caged in" as his celebrity status grew.
Symonds, 34, his international career in limbo after losing his Cricket Australia contract, was sent home from the World Twenty20 in England earlier this month after the latest in a series of alcohol-related indiscretions.
The controversial but highly talented cricketer said in a television interview here he understood why supporters were disappointed with how his international career had gone so badly off the rails.
"Still to this day I realise how lucky I am (to have played for Australia)," he said, adding he had "desperately" wanted to play for his country.
He admitted he had a drink problem, but stopped short of saying he was an alcoholic. "I would drink too much, too fast, too quickly," he said, adding it would make him aggressive.
"I'm not an alcoholic, I've been diagnosed as a binge-drinker."
He said he had felt the pressure of being an international cricketer for one of the world's top teams.
"I sit back now and I look at it and I think at some point I was going to blow, I was gonna bust. Whether it was now, or whether it was in two months' time."
Symonds said he broke an agreement not to drink outside the team environment when he got caught up in London watching on television the rugby league State of Origin opening game between New South Wales and Queensland.
"And for me, with Origin football, comes a few beers," said Symonds, a keen Queensland fan.
Symonds still has a year left to run on his lucrative Indian Premier League contract with the Deccan Chargers after he helped the Chargers win the Twenty20 title in South Africa last month.