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Crowe hands out warning, asks team to lift behaviour

Published: Monday, February 24, 2003, 3:47 [IST]
 
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Johannesburg: New Zealand team manager Jeff Crowe has warned his World Cup squad to drastically improve its behaviour after the Durban nightclub brawl which brought shame on the team and left star all-rounder Chris Cairns nursing cuts as well as his battered pride. Crowe confirmed he has given all 15 players a note "which made mention of the fact they are high-profile sportsmen, their responsibilities in public and how they can be vulnerable in certain situations". Crowe said he had a one-on-one meeting with Cairns, whose memories of the assault were understood to be hazy. Cairns said he had been told his South African partner Carin was pregnant with their second child and was apparently out to celebrate, SAPA news agency reported.

Nine players were in the 'Tiger, Tiger' club in Durban in the early hours of Friday morning when trouble broke out between them and local revellers. The Johannesburg Star newspaper reported on Saturday that players had removed their shirts and performed the 'haka', the traditional Maori war dance, which enraged club goers as the Kiwis had defeated South Africa in a crucial World Cup clash four days earlier. Crowe was to forward his review to New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden in Christchurch who will determine what should be done next.

SAPA reported on Sunday that Cairns and young wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum were asked to leave the club after taking their shirts off on the dance floor and being asked several times to put them back on. When they left in view of their four armed close protection officers, words were apparently exchanged outside and Cairns was eventually punched, knocking him to the pavement and leaving him with facial grazes and a split lower lip. "The incident was disappointing and pretty disruptive at this stage of the campaign," said Crowe as the squad headed for Kimberley where it faces Bangladesh on Wednesday.

It will be its first match in ten days after they decided to boycott its game in Kenya because of security fears. Skipper Stephen Fleming, one of the players in the club at the time of the trouble, refused to discuss the incident but said the Kiwis needed to work hard and with the shadow of the Durban scuffle hanging over them, he said it wasn't ideal for their momentum. "It's disappointing we couldn't have played the game with South Africa a few days later, because now is like starting the season again," Fleming said. "While we're doing lot of nets and a lot of physical work, the intensity we created was building into something really good. We have to recreate that."

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