The prospects of Andrew Symonds rekindling his international career were dealt another blow on Friday when he was officially stripped of his playing contract for next season.
Symonds was one of 25 elite Australian players offered playing contracts for the 2009-10 season, starting next month, but the offer was revoked after he was sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup in England for disciplinary reasons.
Australia's national selectors announced Friday they were offering the contract intended for Symonds to fast bowler Shaun Tait, who was considered unlucky to miss out on the original roster.
"With Cricket Australia now withdrawing its previous contract offer to Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait has moved into a position where he has been offered a CA contract offer for 2009-10 under the rankings system CA uses to offer contracts to players," Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said in a statement.
"Shaun at his best is an important part of our one-day international and Twenty20 make-up and I'm sure he will now seize the opportunity presented to him with this offer of a further Australian contract."
Local media have speculated that Symonds would soon announce his retirement from international cricket and quit Australia to focus on the lucrative Indian Premier League after he was sent home in disgrace for an alcohol-related incident in London.
Symonds has not yet made any decisions about his future but told reporters on his arrival home that he would make an announcement soon.
The 33-year-old has been dogged by off-field problems during his international career and only recently rejoined the team after undergoing counselling for alcohol problems.
Symonds revealed last year that he had started drinking heavily to cope with the pressure of constantly being in the spotlight as a professional sportsman.
Australia officials said the latest incident was relatively minor but they had no alternative other than to send him home because of his long record of ill-discipline.