England in New Zealand, 2012-13 March 4, 2013

Bracewell in doubt for first Test

New Zealand Cricket is investigating an incident involving Doug Bracewell which has left the fast bowler with an injured foot and in doubt for the first Test.

Bracewell is understood to have suffered a cut during or after a party before joining up with the New Zealand squad in Dunedin. NZC are trying to determine the exact circumstances and find out if alcohol played any role.

Bracewell, who did not require stitches to the injury, did not train with the squad at the University Oval on Monday having been ordered to stay at the hotel by medics. He will undergo a fitness test on Tuesday. Ian Butler, the Otago seamer, has been called into the squad as cover with a final decision to be taken after training tomorrow.

Heath Mills, the chief executive of the New Zealand Players' Association, is already involved in the situation. Mike Sandle, the New Zealand team manager, said that the facts needed to be confirmed but that it was an issue the team did not need.

"I'll be working with Doug and Heath to get to the bottom of it," Sandle said. "I'm disappointed to be standing in front of you. No one wants to be standing here like this. There are a lot of acts I need to find out about, but if it is related to that [drink], I'm very disappointed.

"It is a distraction. We want to earn the faith of the public and put in a good Test match performance, so it is disappointing to be here but I want to make it plain that, as I speak now, there is a lot of stuff I'm unaware of," he added.

Sandle also stressed that the injury occurred away from official New Zealand duty. No replacement has been called into the squad yet. Neil Wagner, the left-arm quick, was added after the New Zealand XI match in Queenstown and is one of the four pacemen in the 13-member squad.

Butler, who was part of the Twenty20 squad against England, could yet find himself playing his first Test for more than eight years if Bracewell is ruled out and New Zealand want four seamers. He took 39 wickets at 25.12 in this season's Plunket Shield and has been called up ahead of Mark Gillespie who played for the New Zealand XI in Queenstown.

Last year, Bracewell was dropped from the one-day squad in the series against South Africa for breaking team protocol.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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