New Zealand Cricket's problem duo, Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder, are in hot water again for "totally unacceptable" behaviour after being sprung in an Auckland bar in the early hours of Thursday.
Bracewell's immediate future with the New Zealand team is under a cloud as team management investigate how he suffered a broken bone in his foot some time between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
The pair, who have form for breaking team protocols together, were part of the Black Caps squad for the first test against India. Neither was named in the playing 11 on Wednesday but remained as cover; Ryder for Ross Taylor whose wife is expecting their second child, and Bracewell in case any bowlers pulled up lame on match morning.
Black Caps manager Mike Sandle spoke to both players yesterday who confirmed they were at a bar until the early hours of Thursday.
"Their behaviour is totally unacceptable the night before a match. We trust the players to make good decisions and the pair have breached this trust," Sandle said.
NZC has opened an investigation into the matter and wouldn't comment further last night.
The alleged protocol breach is poor timing for Ryder ahead of next week's Indian Premier League auction where he should command a healthy contract. He travelled to Nelson on Thursday and took his place for Otago in yesterday's Plunket Shield match against Central Districts.
Bracewell was meant to play for CD, too, but was ruled out with what scans confirmed was a fractured foot.
It is understood Bracewell emerged from Wednesday's team training with no ill-effects.
Bracewell, 23, is one of NZC's 20 contracted players while Ryder, 29, is effectively employed by NZC too, as one of Otago's 14-strong contracted group.
The pair was suspended for one match for drinking whilst injured, when they had an altercation with a patron in a Napier bar after a one-day international against South Africa in February 2012.
That was Ryder's previous international match as he addressed off-field issues, until his comeback against West Indies on Boxing Day. Ryder is drinking alcohol again but has stayed out of trouble since shifting south and batting his way back into the New Zealand team.
Bracewell's disciplinary rap sheet is becoming an embarrassment for his employers and his 18-test career may be under threat.
His place in the squad for next Friday's second test in Wellington is now up for grabs, with Canterbury pair Matt Henry and Hamish Bennett the leading contenders.
It's a tricky call for NZC with Ryder, who is in line to end a 26-month hiatus from test cricket at the Basin Reserve with Taylor's new baby due during the match.
Bracewell missed the England test series last March after he suffered a puncture wound in his foot after standing on broken glass while cleaning up after a party at his Napier house. In November, Bracewell was stood down from a T20 match for CD in Hamilton after returning to the team hotel in the early hours and admitting to drinking. Fairfax NZ
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