Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Duo's night out angers NZ team

Jesse Ryder.
Jesse Ryder.

Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell appear to have done their future selection chances permanent harm after drinking early on the morning of Waitangi Day, the first day of the opening test against India.

Neither was expected to play but both were part of the 13-man squad. Bracewell emerged on the Thursday with a broken bone in his foot. How the injury occurred is yet to be determined. He was the reserve fast-bowling option if there was a late injury to Tim Southee, Trent Boult or Neil Wagner. Ryder was on standby for Ross Taylor, whose wife is due to give birth to a second child.

The pair are recidivist offenders where alcohol and breaks in team protocol are concerned. Team-mates are understood to be livid, given the successful efforts this summer to resurrect New Zealand's cricket reputation and the previous chances afforded to Bracewell and Ryder to right their reputations.

The Herald on Sunday understands the feeling in the dressing room was disappointment rather than euphoria after their stupendous effort on the second day.

With a powerful team culture under construction, the baggage brought by Bracewell and Ryder might become surplus to selection requirements.

No final decision will be made on their futures until New Zealand Cricket concludes its investigation. They have to ask questions whether such behaviour can continue to be condoned, given it undermined a team performance led by Brendon McCullum's double century.

With the depth in bowling across all formats, Bracewell faces the biggest threat to his international career. The 23-year-old may well slip down the pecking order due to trust issues. On a pragmatic scale, Ryder is of more value with the World T20 in Bangladesh next month. However, in his 30th year and with a run of eight international scores between 17 and 23 in his last eight international innings, his value could also be on the wane. The incident won't have helped his selection chances for an Indian Premier League contract. The auction starts on Wednesday.

Several cricketing identities contacted by the Herald on Sunday spoke of the pair's "arrogance and selfishness" indulging in a late-night out when places in the New Zealand team are so coveted across all formats at present. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the situation it was a distraction NZC did not need amid golden form this summer.

Speaking before the third day on Radio Sport, former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe said they were still on duty with the squad.

"They had to be preparing as if to play. Certainly that should have been the message. If it wasn't questions should be asked. They aren't mature adults, they've proven they still slip into this juvenile delinquent behaviour. They're not good together, that's clear from the past.

"No one comes out of this well. Management again need to look at what they're doing and clearly those two players need to take a serious look in the mirror.

"A lot [of people] will say their chips are done but the nature of sport is you can change and improve. That's what you ask of young people. We've seen that in Jesse the last few months. He's looked fitter - a slightly more transformed person - but get him back with his troubled mate and this is what happens."

It remains uncertain how much alcohol was consumed during the evening. There's no talk of contract termination (for Bracewell's New Zealand contract or Ryder's Otago contract) as yet.

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.

- Herald on Sunday

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