New Zealand in Australia / News

Coach apologises for strange comments

Bracewell tied in knots over missing Gilchrist

Cricinfo staff

December 18, 2007

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John Bracewell has had another eventful tour of Australia © Getty Images
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John Bracewell claimed to have inside knowledge on why Adam Gilchrist was rested for Thursday's final match of the Chappell-Hadlee Series before apologising to Australia's vice-captain for being misleading. Less than a week after refusing to pass Shaun Tait's action, Bracewell was back in the limelight with a strange response to a question about whether he was surprised by Gilchrist's omission for the deciding game in Hobart.

"No, not at all because of the circumstances of why he's left out of the team," Bracewell was reported by NZPA. "[The reasons are] not for me to reveal. It's down as 'rested', but they're not for me to reveal. Could it be family reasons? I don't know. It's not necessarily rested."

Gilchrist told the Australian: "I don't care what they say. They've had a lot to say over the last week. I wonder what they'll say next?" A New Zealand spokesman later told the Sydney Morning Herald Bracewell had phoned Gilchrist to "clarify the situation and apologise".

The incident continues a string of strange accusations involving Bracewell when New Zealand play Australia. Before the Test series in 2004-05 he said Australia were vulnerable the longer the match lasted, during the tour he claimed Hawkeye was altered to suit the home team and at the end of it he complained a pitch had been swapped to negate the spin of Daniel Vettori.

In 2005 he suggested Brett Lee could be taken to court if one of his high full-tosses hurt a batsman and he also believed the Australians, who were being hit by objects thrown from the stands, stopped play to disrupt a New Zealand chase in a one-day game. Bracewell had refused to comment on the Tait issue in Adelaide and this time said it was "never mentioned in our camp".

He deflected queries about whether he was satisfied Tait operated within the laws by saying: "I just haven't spoken to the match referee. He's a bowler like everyone else. He's damn fast and good on him."

Australia lead the series 1-0 and New Zealand need a victory at Bellerive Oval to retain the trophy. The second match in Sydney was washed out with the visitors in severe trouble at 3 for 30, but Bracewell was not concerned.

"To go down to Hobart and have to win a game to win a trophy is a good position to be in," he said. "It was only a six-over game. Everything starts afresh so the psychological advantage finishes with a non-result."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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