New Zealand cricket coach John Bracewell has personally apologised to Adam Gilchrist for attributing motives to the Australian vice-captain's resting from the third and last one-day international in Hobart last Thursday, it was reported by the media here Tuesday.
Though it was decided three weeks ago to rest Gilchrist from the Hobart one-dayer against the Kiwis to keep the 36-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman fresh for the four-Test series against India, beginning in Melbourne on Boxing Day, Bracewell yesterday created a stir by telling the New Zealand media that Gilchrist was "not necessarily being rested".
"He's down as rested, but they [Gilchrist's motives] are not for me to reveal," Bracewell was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Bracewell's remark set off rumours about Gilchrist's health and also hinted at his retirement from one-day international cricket.
The New Zealand coach, though, later conceded his comments were misleading, and a Black Caps spokesperson confirmed Bracewell had phoned Gilchrist to "clarify the situation and apologise".
Renowned for his combative nature, particularly when pitted against the World Champions, Bracewell hardly endeared himself to Ricky Ponting's squad earlier in the series when he fanned the flames of the Shaun Tait throwing controversy.
Afforded the chance to allay concerns about Tait's action, first raised by his captain Daniel Vettori, Bracewell instead referred the matter to the International Cricket Council's match referee, Roshan Mahanama.
The Australians regarded Bracewell's stance as tacit criticism of Tait, and the controversy has yet to subside.
"If I had an issue with his action I would have spoken to the match referee, and I haven't," Bracewell said Monday, when pressed on the Tait issue. "He's a bowler like everyone else. He's damn fast and good on him."
Bracewell also denied suggestions he was deliberately attempting to rile the Australians. In recent seasons, the New Zealand coach has warned that Brett Lee could face a lawsuit if he persisted with beamers, accused Ponting of stalling tactics and suggested the Gabba wicket had been doctored to suit the home side in 2004.
"It's a big enough challenge playing Australia as it is without throwing an issue in and firing them up," he said. "I'd rather catch them asleep."