What’s the story?
New Zealand’s Doug Bracewell has been charged with DUI (driving under the influence) after pleading guilty to the offence at the Hastings District Court on Thursday. The left-arm fast bowler was pulled over on March 18 while driving along East Road, Haumoana, a coastal town located in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
Upon testing by the police, it was revealed that Bracewell’s breath alcohol level was 783 micrograms per litre of breath – more than three times the legal limit in New Zealand which is set at 250mcg.
Bracewell admitted his wrongdoing and sought forgiveness from his family and friends for his unjustifiable act.
"I made a massive mistake by driving that evening and apologise unreservedly for my actions," the 26-year-old said in a statement released by New Zealand Cricket. "This was no-one's fault but my own; I take full responsibility, and I'm deeply embarrassed to have let down so many people - be they family, friends, or cricket lovers."
In case you didn’t know...
This is not the first time that the New Zealand pacer has run into trouble with authorities over his drinking habits. In 2012, following an ODI against South Africa at Napier, Bracewell along with teammate Jesse Ryder got into an altercation with the patron at a bar while drinking, which resulted in the duo being dropped for the next game in the series at Auckland.
In 2013, Bracewell was forced to sit out of a Test match against England after accidentally cutting his foot while cleaning broken glasses following a party at his house.
A year later, Ryder and Bracewell were once again reprimanded after a late-night drinking session on the eve of a Test match against India at Auckland. It was later revealed that Bracewell had a broken bone in his foot and he subsequently flew back to Napier missing the following Test at Wellington as well.
The heart of the matter
Apart from the high-profile incidents mentioned above, Bracewell has been convicted of the drink-driving office on a couple of occasions in the past which means that he could even face a jail term of up to 2 years or a fine of $6000.
The police had also initially charged Bracewell with careless driving on the night of the offence but withdraw their charge on Thursday following the cricketer’s admission of guilt. Trying to justify his decision to drive home despite being drunk as something which was needed to attend a pressing matter at his residence, Bracewell, however, acknowledged that it was wrong of him to put the lives of others as well as himself on the line by resorting to the act.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White expressed serious disappointment with Bracewell claiming that the issue of drink-driving was something that the board took a very dim view of.
In the courtroom on Thursday, Bracewell's lawyer, Eric Forster, tried to defend his client by claiming that the cricketer’s previous drink-drive conviction came more than five years ago. Judge Geoff Rea, for the time being, remanded Bracewell on bail – one of the conditions being that he is not allowed to drive – with the sentence set to be announced next month.
NZC will seek their own disciplinary action against Bracewell but only once the judicial proceedings are decided.
Despite being just 26, Bracewell has already earned quite a reputation as a cricketer who is infamous for his troubles off the field rather than his abilities on it. A repeat offender, to say the least, it is up to the law to take its own course on the drink-driving incident.
NZC though has to take a serious call on Bracewell and take serious disciplinary action against the cricketer, even perhaps going to the extent where he is made an example of for the upcoming cricketers.