Bracewell can become great - Taylor
New Zealand captain Ross Taylor expects great things of Doug Bracewell, declaring the young allrounder capable of growing into one of the best in the world. As his team rounded out its preparations for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, Taylor said Bracewell, who made his debut in Zimbabwe earlier this month, would be capable of startling the hosts with his thoughtful bowling.
"Doug Bracewell is a player the Australian public haven't seen a lot of. He's an exciting young talent who can not only bowl fast but is also a handy allrounder, and he's only 21," Taylor said. "I'm sure in years to come he'll be one of the best allrounders in the world.
"It's nice to see him grow as a person. He thinks a lot more about his bowling than I thought he did a couple of years ago, and that's impressive for a youngster. He had success in his debut against Zimbabwe but I'm sure he's looking forward to bouncier conditions here than a low, slow Bulawayo wicket."
Unlike Australia, New Zealand have a more settled XI going into the match. In Bracewell, Tim Southee, Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori, Taylor can say his bowling attack is more accomplished than Michael Clarke's. The New Zealand quartet is mentored by former Tasmania and Victoria swing bowler, Damien Wright, who has passed on plenty of England's expertise via his friend and ECB bowling coach David Saker.
"He's [Wright] played a lot of first-class cricket here, and he's mates with David Saker the England bowling coach," Taylor said. "He's given us some nice information from the Ashes series here on how they went about it, and Damien as a character is getting the best out of the bowlers."
Running his eye down Australia's battery of young quicks, Taylor said their inexperience would help New Zealand, but there would also be plenty of speed, enthusiasm and energy to counter with patience and application.
"Experience-wise it is one of the weakest [Australian attacks], but they know the conditions better than we do," Taylor said. "We've had a look at them on a flat Allan Border wicket, but I'm sure they'll come at us hard but we'll expect that. We're confident, we've scored runs in the last two first-class games, we just need to take that confidence out onto the wicket.
"I thought [James] Pattinson bowled very well, he was one of the most consistent, he bowled a good line and length, plus I'd played with him at Victoria and watched him develop there as well. I'd never seen Starc before. Cutting bowled a lot of short balls and tried to get people with the fuller delivery. So they all bowled reasonably well on a very flat wicket."
Taylor doubted Australia would play all four fast bowlers - Vettori is a certainty for New Zealand - and expressed the locally held view that the character of the sky was just as important as that of the pitch.
"That is an option for them, to play four quicks, but I'm not sure how many overs Clarkey wants to bowl out there if he doesn't play a spinner," Taylor said. "The overhead conditions are the biggest part.
"On that wicket you'd always want to bat first, but the overhead conditions can change your mind. We'll just have to see what the weather turns up with. If there's a little cloud around you'd bat, but if there's a lot of cloud around you might change your decision."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo