I've played in pain for three years - Bracken
Nathan Bracken, the Australian medium-pacer, has said the knee injury that forced him to return home before the start of Australia's ICC Champions Trophy defence in South Africa had reached a stage where he "couldn't go on any more". He felt it had constrained his bowling and hoped that surgery would allow him to bowl more freely in the future.
"I've played in pain since January 2007," Bracken told the Sun-Herald. "From the first day I reported to Cricket Australia I had pain in my knee, I haven't played in a game without pain … it has reached the point where, physically, I can't go on any more. I couldn't guarantee my captain I could finish the series or even a game for that matter.
"It reached the point that when I went off the field during a drinks break I couldn't put weight on my legs to go up and down the stairs. Yet, I needed to bowl my three remaining overs. On that, the advice was for me to come home and get it fixed."
Bracken said there were aspects of his bowling that were affected by the problem. "I lost a bit of pace because I looked after my knee when I bowled and there were certain things as a bowler I couldn't do because it was uncomfortable," he said. "I know in England I couldn't charge in knowing I could fire in a yorker at 135 kilometres an hour; that was just not on."
Bracken is due to have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will also not be part of New South Wales' campaign in the Champions League Twenty20 and Australia's one-day series in India. His captain, Ricky Ponting, had expressed concern over the bowler's international future but Bracken did not share those doubts.
"None of the doctors I've seen have let those words pass their lips," Bracken said. "It's simply a matter of getting [the knee] right, getting it 100% by December and then being back in time for the [international] one-day series in January. That's the plan.
"[As for four-day cricket] we'll wait for the operation and I'll listen to the advice. I'm dealing with [knee surgeon] Merv Cross. He's coming out with a few ideas; he wants me to start my rehabilitation, before I have the operation, to strengthen the area. He's confident I can walk out of the hospital after the operation and then begin the process of returning to cricket."