Wellington - Coach Mike Hesson denies there's a drinking culture within the New
Zealand set-up after a second off-field incident emerged in as many days
on the eve of the first Test against England.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, Hesson, explaining the absence of Doug Bracewell from the side, also
had to glance off questions about spinner Jeetan Patel's night out in
Queenstown during the New Zealand XI tour match against England last
English tabloid The Sun reported Patel went out with friends last
Wednesday night and hit his head, ruling him out of the second day's
play. It is understood he suffered mild concussion, although no further
details were available. Radio reported at the time that Patel was
suffering from a virus which saw him remain at the team hotel.
Hesson glanced off a direct question about whether there was a
drinking culture in the side, and insisted there were high standards
within the Black Caps.
"We've got really good standards in terms of the expectations we
have on our players. They are also human and also spend a lot of time
away from the group," Hesson said.
"The expectation is that what they do certainly doesn't conflict or
affect their preparation and we're pretty strong on that."
Hesson pointed out the Bracewell and Patel incidents happened outside the Black Caps team environment.
Having opened the shutters on Monday about the Bracewell incident,
where he cut his foot on glass during a post-party cleanup at his Napier
home, New Zealand Cricket slammed them shut yesterday when the Patel
Hesson confirmed Patel hit his head during the night out and was
unable to take the field the next day, but couldn't add any detail. "I
wasn't out at the time so I'm not sure. You'll need to speak to NZC
New Zealand XI manager Lance Hamilton said he wasn't the man to
comment on the Patel incident. An NZC spokeswoman said the matter was
dealt with at the time by team management and the Cricket Players'
Association, and no one from NZC would comment further.
NZC vehemently denied anyone from the team or management had misled the radio commentators and told them Patel had a virus.
A request via Wellington management to get Patel's side of the story
was declined, saying NZC was handling all comment on the matter.
Cricket Wellington, who Patel is contracted to, was unaware of the
Bracewell, meanwhile, is expected to be fit for the second test
starting in Wellington next Friday. Via team manager Mike Sandle,
Bracewell apologised for the inconvenience he caused his team-mates,
members of the public and the neighbour who twice telephoned CPA boss
Heath Mills to complain about rowdy parties at Bracewell's house.
Bracewell insisted to Mills and Sandle that he had "a couple of
beers" and wasn't drunk during a gathering of nine or 10 people to watch
the rugby at his house last Friday night.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said the Bracewell situation had been "blown out of proportion".
"It was an accident, and that's unfortunate, because it's rubbed him
out of a test which he was determined to be at his best for."