New Zealand's World Cup squad today got embroiled in a controversy when fast bowler Tim Southee was accused of "lewd behaviour" by a woman co-passenger during their flight from Sydney to Dubai en route to Mumbai.
According to reports here, another passenger on the Emirates flight described the incident between Southee and the woman as the "worst possible sort of lewd behaviour".
New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan, however, said the incident has been blown out of proportion and ruled out sending Southee back home.
Team manager Dave Currie said the reports were incorrect and that the woman didn't lodge a complaint. He said the matter has been closed.
"I've spoken to Tim, I've also spoken to team manager, I've spoken to (captain) Dan Vettori and a number of other players. It appears pretty innocent really," Vaughan said.
"I think Tim met a female passenger and struck up a conversation. They spent a bit of time and had a drink together on the plane.
"At some stage she came to Tim's seat and perhaps spent a maximum of 30 seconds with Tim, and there may well have been, dare I say it, a kiss on the cheek, but that was it. She went back to her seat, and Tim is adamant nothing inappropriate, nothing untoward, occurred," Vaughan said.
Vaughan said a number of other players had supported Southee's version of events.