Mar 5 2013
Doug Bracewell will miss the first Test against England because of his injured foot - not for disciplinary reasons.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum both addressed the issues surrounding how Bracewell came to cut his foot so badly on a broken glass at home over the weekend. Much innuendo about whether alcohol had played any part in the accident was quashed.
He has explained that he hurt himself while cleaning up after a party at his house - where reports suggest noisy evenings are far from an unusual occurrence. Ian Butler is now in the reckoning to play his first Test in more than eight years "It's really disappointing for Doug and the team, because he's a crucial part of our seam attack," said Hesson.
"There's been speculation that, while he's been away (from home), there have been functions he's unaware of - but in terms of this Test, he's got a hole in his foot."
Hesson continued: "Unfortunately his foot hasn't recovered in time ... he can't put any weight on it. The physio said there was no chance. He will stay with us during the week and be ready for the second Test."
McCullum is disappointed to be without his frontline bowler, but suspects some coverage of Bracewell's injury has been exaggerated.
"I think the Doug situation has been blown out of proportion," the skipper said.
"It was an accident which was unfortunate, because it has ruled him out of a match he was hoping to be at his best for. A lot more has been made of it than needed to be. Doug was certainly a big part of our plans. But it's not to be, and Neil Wagner gets a chance in that third-seamer role."
McCullum cannot afford to let Bracewell's absence, or the circumstances surrounding it, compromise his team's preparations.
"We know this is a huge series - we are taking on one of giants of the Test game," he said. "On the back of a tough South Africa series, we know the importance of us showing a fighting spirit for cricket in this country. We were competitive throughout the T20 and ODI series, but Test cricket is where we and the public want to see improvement."