Cricket: Drinking duo face long wait for cheers

By Anendra Singh

Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder will have to earn the right to represent their country again. Photo/File
Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder will have to earn the right to represent their country again. Photo/File

Performance alone will not be enough for Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder to work their way back into the New Zealand cricket team.

"They'll have to demonstrate their worth. It's not about runs and wickets," New Zealand head of cricket operations Lindsay Crocker told Hawke's Bay Today yesterday.

Crocker said the first hurdle for the Black Caps squad members was to "show some intent and go on and live it".

"Are they capable of it? I don't know.

"What I do know is that the team's pressing on," he said after the recidivist offenders broke team protocol on the eve of the first test against India in Auckland when they went out drinking at a bar until 3am into Waitangi Day, the opening day of the match at Eden Park.

"They are not hankering, waiting for them to return."

Fundamentally, the Mike Hesson-coached and Brendon McCullum-captained Black Caps belonged to a culture of selection where those who made the cut were going to go on to add value to their constitution.

He emphasised NZ Cricket was not in a position to ban the players and in this situation hadn't. "They have to prove themselves to be selection worthy," Crocker said but reiterated it was not a decision for him to make.

"What I can tell you is that's a very, very long time coming."

Crocker said for Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags player Bracewell it was imperative he should undergo rehabilitation to ensure his broken right foot was healed properly.

It is still not clear how the Sharpies Driving Range Taradale Cricket Club premier player broke his right foot with CD Cricket chief executive Hugh Henderson saying on Tuesday it was "taking stock".

Crocker said for Bracewell, 23, and Ryder, 29, to re-enter the Black Caps equation, they would have to prove they were ready to represent New Zealand again.

New Zealand team manager Mike Sandle imposed an undisclosed fine on the duo, the maximum fine allowable for breaching the ordinary misconduct terms of their individual contracts.

Bracewell is a nationally contracted player, while Ryder has one with his major association, Otago Cricket.

The Stags allrounder's 12-month contract with NZ Cricket will be up for renewal at the end of July.

Ryder, who scored an unbeaten ton against CD at the weekend, will come off his seven-month provincial contract at the end of April.

If, hypothetically, NZ Cricket did not renew Bracewell's contract then the ball would be in CD Cricket's court, as it were, to pick him up or not.

"We're all in this together. New Zealand and CD contracts are very closely linked."

Crocker reaffirmed the team's report on the eve of the first test showed Bracewell was not injured so the injury must have occurred after that.

"It's interesting to know that [how he injured himself] but it isn't essential."

While NZ Cricket was still waiting to find out how he injured himself, he said, whatever the circumstances it would make no difference to selection but the organisation did care about Bracewell's welfare and how best the broken foot could be managed.

"The selection process is just another can of beans."

As far as Crocker was concerned, Bracewell and Ryder, of the Otago Volts, had poor timing in breaking protocol the night before a test "in cavalier fashion".

Looking at their lapse in its entirety from other aspects, such as role modelling and what players believe to be in a social sense, the pair's actions had escalated to what could happen in a team environment.

With quality in the team management, such breach of trust in going to town for a drink until 3am before a test match when they should have been mentally and physically prepared in case of a last-minute change was unacceptable.

Selection through trust was just one part of the equation. Had it been any other minor breach the team would have dealt with it internally.

Crocker said Bracewell and Ryder, who are out of contention for the second test beginning in Wellington tomorrow, came into the first test mindful they were there as bracketed players.

Ryder was on standby for CD batsman Ross Taylor, whose wife Victoria is expecting their second child.

Bracewell was in similar mould in case a seamer picked up an injury.

Tom Latham was in Ryder's situation, but Crocker said they didn't expect him to "get on the turps" if he wasn't picked.

Crocker drew team parallels with a family environment, saying there were unwritten "do's and don'ts" because NZ Cricket didn't begrudge players who were away from home for up to nine months in a year a social life.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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