Cricket: Mills flies home lighter in pocket

By Andrew Alderson

Kyle Mills flew home yesterday after an altercation which marred New Zealand's fine, upset win over South Africa in the World Cup quarter-final.

However, Mills wasn't being disciplined - it was acknowledgment that his injury problems would not allow him to continue and he is being replaced by left-arm paceman Andy McKay.

Mills, Daniel Vettori and South African batsman Francois du Plessis have been fined part of their match fees for their roles in the pushing and shoving altercation that took place during the quarter-final.

The New Zealand team seized the opportunity to goad the South Africans after Martin Guptill had instigated a run out of their star batsman AB de Villiers. South Africa were crumbling at 122 for five at the end of the 28th over.

Vettori had words with du Plessis, the not out batsman, and Kyle Mills chipped into the conversation as he ran drinks onto the field in his red butler's vest. A confrontation ensued and a number of other Black Caps became embroiled. The umpires had to intervene.

The percentage of fines had not been established at the time of writing.

The incident tainted what was one of the great New Zealand World Cup victories against the odds.

Team manager Dave Currie was downplaying what happened, saying at times that is the nature of competitive international sport with emotions running high.

"They [the South Africans] took exception to Kyle - and he understands and acknowledges that, particularly because as a substitute he should have kept well out of it.

"But you can understand players being in a tense situation. Kyle was fined because as a sub they felt it wasn't the smartest thing for him to get involved.

"It was all very quick. Dan and du Plessis, clearly, were having a couple of quiet words. Kyle was walking over to give Dan a water bottle.

"There has to be some perspective here. The whole thing took seconds."

Currie says Du Plessis pushed Mills, so was cited for that. No Black Caps are thought to have been involved in any pushing or shoving.

"We can't have any kind of physical contact in cricket and after the match he [du Plessis] came and apologised. In the scheme of things, the guys settled it themselves.

"But the umpires also have a responsibility to report things they think aren't good for the image of the game. They did what they had to do and the matter's closed."

McKay joins the squad in Colombo today.

- Herald on Sunday

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