Cricket: Seamer injury causes doubt

By Anendra Singh

Black Caps seam bowler Doug Bracewell could "barely walk" at the weekend.

That's the verdict of a cricket stalwart who saw the player hobbling in Napier on Saturday, casting doubts on whether he will start in the first cricket test in Dunedin.

Bracewell has a cut on the sole of his right foot, apparently from cleaning up broken glass following a party at his home in Te Awa, Napier, at the weekend.

Radio Sport reported yesterday neighbours complained about a party at Bracewell's home getting out of control.

The source said another premier club cricketer flatted with the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags cricketer and a few parties had been held at the house in a new sub-division.

Bracewell has fallen out of favour with the national selectors as a limited-overs and Twenty/20 option.

CD coach Alan Hunt, who watched the news on TV last night with Stags players in Hamilton for their fourth-round, one-day Ford Trophy match against the Northern Districts Knights, said he didn't know any more than what he had picked up from the media.

New Zealand manager Mike Sandle, who only arrived in Dunedin yesterday ahead of the first test against England starting tomorrow, said Bracewell would undergo a fitness test today.

"At the moment, I can't tell you if he's playing in this test or not," Sandle said of New Zealand opening bowler who didn't train with the rest of the Black Caps yesterday.

"I am aware of some allegations that have been levelled this morning. There's a lot I don't know at the moment. I need to ascertain some facts."

Sandle said he would be disappointed if the injury turned out to be related to alcohol but he was reluctant to comment further until he had spoken to Bracewell.

He indicated the Black Caps had enough bowling cover in the squad if the 22-year-old Taradale Cricket Club premier player was ruled out.

Otago left-armer Neil Wagner and spin bowler Bruce Martin, on debut, would likely join spearheads Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

Both the English (morning) and the Black Caps (afternoon) had their first net sessions at the University Oval yesterday.

Strong winds and grey skies greeted the teams - rather a disappointment after a long, hot Dunedin summer, though the forecast for the week looks reasonable.

Ticket sales for the test have been brisk, with fewer than 1000 on general sale. The ground's capacity has expanded to about 5300. additional reporting

Otago Daily Times

- Hawkes Bay Today

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