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An alcohol-fuelled altercation with a pub bouncer has been revealed as the reason Jeetan Patel was unable to take the field against England in Queenstown last week.
New Zealand Cricket confirmed Patel was out drinking with injured New Zealand player Daniel Vettori last Wednesday, after day one of the four-day match, when the incident occurred.
"New Zealand Cricket understands that Jeetan Patel was refused entry to a bar in Queenstown.
"He subsequently fell and hit his head. Patel returned to the team hotel, felt unwell and took himself to A and E," NZ Cricket told Fairfax Media last night.
Patel suffered mild concussion and remained at the team hotel when the New Zealand XI took the field on day two. Media were told Patel was unwell.
NZ Cricket would not confirm the exact nature of the alleged altercation with the bouncer because there were varying accounts of what had happened. NZ Cricket said no action was being pursued against any bouncer or pub employee.
Vettori was in Queenstown to work with NZ Cricket's medical team as he recovers from injury and went out with Patel, who is struggling to cope with the death of his mother, Shaila, in January.
Patel, who was dropped from the test side, was a late call-up to the New Zealand XI for the injured Ish Sodhi. NZ Cricket said it was "deeply disappointed" a player was drinking during a match.
"Team management [coach Bob Carter and manager Lance Hamilton] has spoken strongly to Patel and Vettori, telling them that their behaviour was completely unacceptable. Both players apologised to team management at the time."
Patel and Vettori also issued apologies last night. Patel said: "I am sorry for my behaviour that evening and I accept that it was totally inappropriate for me to be out drinking during a match where I was representing my country."
Vettori said: "My behaviour was completely unprofessional in going out and I should have spent time with Jeetan in another way. I would like to apologise to the NZ Cricket medical team who I was there to work with and to anyone else who is disappointed in my behaviour."
Patel is not among NZ Cricket's centrally contracted players but is contracted to Cricket Wellington who had no knowledge of the incident when news broke on Tuesday.
There is huge sympathy for Patel and his personal circumstances, but NZ Cricket have again been economical with the truth, as they also try to douse the Doug Bracewell controversy as the test series against England begins.
Bracewell was ruled out of the first test after cutting his foot cleaning up after a party at his Napier home last Friday night.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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