Troubled New Zealand players Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell face a fresh probe for breaking team rules following a night out drinking, hours before the first Test against India began at Eden Park on Thursday.
A New Zealand Cricket statement on Saturday said both have admitted to the team manager Mike Sandle that they were in an Auckland bar till the early hours. He expressed disappointment at what he 'understands to have occurred', suggesting an incident involving the players or one of them after Bracewell was left with an unexplained broken bone in his foot.
Both have a history of disciplinary issues due to drink and have been suspended in the past.
Sandle said he spoke to both players and they admitted they were out drinking till early on Thursday. "Their behaviour is totally unacceptable the night before a match. We trust the players to make good decisions and the pair have breached this trust," he said in an NZC statement.
The New Zealand camp is particularly furious because it distracts the team while in the midst of a brilliant run against India. Besides, left-handed batsman Jesse Ryder was cover for Ross Taylor, whose wife is expecting their second child. He would have been included in the eleven if Taylor had to pull out to be with his wife.
Bracewell, 23, came worse off after suffering a broken bone in his foot. The reserve paceman had bowled in the New Zealand team nets on Tuesday and Wednesday till when he was fine. How the injury happened will also be investigated. The probe is expected to be completed in the next few days.
Both the players had been released from the squad to play for their respective teams in the domestic first-class Plunket Shield competition. Ryder has joined his team, Otago, while Bracewell had been due to play for the rivals, Central Districts.
The incident could well rob Ryder of an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract. The timing of is particularly bad because the players’ auction is due to take place on Wednesday. There is huge interest in New Zealand with all eyes on young all-rounder Corey Anderson.
The pair has got into trouble in the past, and together, for breaking team rules due to drinking.
The two were suspended for one match after they got into an altercation in a Napier bar after an ODI against South Africa in February 2012. It was also the last match Ryder played for the national team until his return in the last series against West Indies.
Following that incident, Ryder decided to take an indefinite break from cricket. And in March last year, he was assaulted outside a Christchurch bar and was kept in a medically induced coma for two days.
Last August, he was given a retrospective six-month ban for failing a routine dope test while playing domestic cricket.
Bracewell, son of former Test paceman Brendon and nephew of former Test off-spinner John, missed the home Test series against England in March last year following a punctured foot suffered after stepping on broken glass while cleaning up after a party at his house in Napier.
In November, he was dropped from a T20 match for Central Districts after returning to the team hotel in Hamilton in the early hours and admitting to drinking.
Ryder, for all his talent, has played in only 18 Tests since his debut in 2008. His batting average is a healthy 40 plus. Bracewell, a centrally contracted player, has also played 18 Tests, taking 50 wickets.