David White has taken the "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to suggestions quick bowler Doug Bracewell tampered with the ball during day two of New Zealand's test against the West Indies in Antigua.
Television pictures beamed from the Caribbean yesterday looked quite damning. But they escaped the gaze of New Zealand Cricket's chief executive.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't seen any cricket, I've been in meetings today," White said when asked what he made of footage that appeared to show Bracewell scratching one side of the ball.
"The only comment I can give you is that I haven't seen anything and I've heard nothing from team management, so there's nothing to comment on."
Live viewers, and those who subsequently saw clips of the incident on the internet, might disagree about there being nothing to comment on.
Bracewell was seen with the ball pressed hard against his right thigh. He then seemed to scratch at one side of it with his index finger, before using his other digits as well.
It was brief but enough for umpire Paul Reiffel to ask to inspect the ball.
That was 3.3 overs into the Windies' reply to New Zealand's first innings of 351 but, satisfied that the ball's condition had not been altered, Reiffel allowed Bracewell to continue bowling.
The West Indies went to stumps on day two at 145 for none, having found few terrors in the Black Caps' attack.
Protocol dictates that the match referee, in this case Ranjan Madugalle, will approach a team at the close of play if he feels anything untoward has occurred.
A spokesman for the Black Caps said there was no visit by Madugalle at stumps and, on that basis, there was no issue.
White said he shared that view.
Players are permitted to polish the ball or remove debris, such as grass or dirt. But anything that might artificially cause the ball's condition to deteriorate is an offence under law 42 of the laws of cricket.
It's difficult to know what Bracewell was attempting but it wasn't a great look.
Neither, from a New Zealand point of view, was the second day itself. Bracewell was one of the few to shine, as the Black Caps were bowled out for 351, having resumed on 232 for four.
Bracewell made a brisk 39 from 31 balls and was one of the few batsmen to hit the ball with any conviction.
The bowling lacked consistency as, Bracewell and Vettori aside, the Black Caps were regularly punished by Windies opener Chris Gayle. Playing his first test match since December 2010, the Jamaican left-hander raced to 50 in 39 balls and went to the close of play on 85 not out.
Alongside him, Kieran Powell, who had looked all at sea during the team's recent tour of England, compiled a useful 58 not out.
Playing his New Zealand-record 112th test, Vettori was the pick of the Black Caps' bowlers but battled to create more than half-chances during his 15 tidy overs.
Speaking at stumps, Vettori felt New Zealand had a chance to win the test, provided they took early wickets on day three.
He was especially encouraged by the performance of debutant fast bowler Neil Wagner, who, despite having a tough time against Gayle early in the innings, made the ball reverse swing late in the day.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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