Cricketers in trouble again

By David Leggat

Ryder and Bracewell undermine their captain's double-century blitz against India with a late-night drinking session on the eve of the test match

Black Caps player Jesse Ryder. Photo / Natalie Slade
Black Caps player Jesse Ryder. Photo / Natalie Slade

New Zealand cricketers Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder are under investigation after a late-night drinking session the night before the first test against India.

The pair, who were part of New Zealand's squad of 13 for the match, have admitted they were in an Auckland bar in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Both have form for breaches of discipline and have received suspensions.

NZ Cricket were forced to investigate yesterday even as captain Brendon McCullum was scoring a magnificent double century.

Bracewell turned up on Thursday morning with a broken bone in a foot. He was the backup fast-bowling option should there have been a late injury to one of the three chosen for the test. Ryder was on standby for leading batsman Ross Taylor, whose wife is due to give birth to a second child and may have been a late withdrawal.

New Zealand Cricket are furious with the pair, especially as it comes at a time when the national team are dominating the test against the Indians and the focus should be on on-field performance.

"Their behaviour is totally unacceptable the night before a match," team manager Mike Sandle said last night. "We trust the players to make good decisions and the pair have breached this trust."

The players confirmed to Sandle they had been on the town and NZC aren't making any comment until their investigation is completed, which is expected to take several days.

Ryder returned to play for Otago against Central Districts in their Plunket Shield game in Nelson yesterday. Bracewell was due to turn out for CD against Ryder, but the foot injury ruled him out. How the injury occurred has yet to be determined.

Bracewell, 23, has had a chequered disciplinary time since he graduated to the New Zealand team.

In February 2012 Bracewell and Ryder were suspended for one game after getting into an altercation in a Napier bar following a one-day international. Bracewell missed all three tests against England at home last season after cutting his foot on glass cleaning up after a party at his house in Napier.

Last November, Central Districts stood him down for a T20 game after he'd gone out for a few drinks the night before a game in Hamilton and returned late to the team hotel.

He seemed set to be a major player in New Zealand's bowling arsenal when he took an outstanding nine for 60 in the seven-run win over Australia at Hobart in late 2011, including the match-deciding six for 40 in the second innings.

He played the two tests in Bangladesh in October but missed out on playing in the West Indies series before Christmas. In 18 tests, Bracewell has taken 50 wickets at an average of 36.26 each.

Ryder's career has been punctuated by bouts of ill-discipline.

He shoved his hand through a window in a Christchurch bar in 2008, suffering serious injuries; was suspended for a one-day international in 2009 for breaching team protocols in Wellington; was the victim of a violent assault outside another Christchurch bar last March; and received a six-month ban for failing a drug test early last year.

Ryder, 29, and who averages 40.93 in 18 tests, stepped away from international cricket early in 2012 for 22 months, citing a "deeply stressful and emotional time", until his return against the West Indies before Christmas.

Do you know more about what Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell got up to on Thursday night? Email news@hos.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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