Cricket Australia contract list 2010-11

Real job beckons for Bracken

Peter English

April 8, 2010

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Nathan Bracken is congratulated on one of his two wickets, England v Australia, 2nd ODI, Lord's, September 6, 2009
Nathan Bracken: "I thought this year, with the amount of one-day cricket and the World Cup in India, that would really improve my chances of getting a contract" © Getty Images
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The messages to Nathan Bracken telling him it's time to get a real job have been light-hearted, but he knows his mates are right. Bracken lost his Cricket Australia contract on Wednesday and will spend the winter without the security and status of the precious item he has owned for most of the past decade.

At 32, having overcome some serious knee operations, he is effectively a state player despite being ranked as high as No.2 last year in the ICC's one-day list. Bracken was surprised by the decision, figuring his limited-overs talents would be relied on heavily in the next 12 months, but he has been over-run by a group of younger, fitter and faster bowlers.

He is not angry when he speaks about his omission and at times sounds like he is already in retirement, but he is definitely not stepping down. Just stepping back after five Tests and 116 ODIs, and beginning to think about what life might be like away from his bowling mark.

It doesn't mean he's taking the news well. "It's very disappointing to lose it," he told Cricinfo. "As David Hussey said in the paper, he enjoys proving people wrong. I'm in a position where I've done that before and it feels pretty good. I want to prove that me being ranked No.1 in the world [in 2008] was no fluke, to show that I can get back there."

The cross from Andrew Hilditch and his selectors "changes things dramatically" for Bracken, who was planning to be at full fitness for the tour of the British Isles in June. He points out he was the one-day player of the year at the 2009 Allan Border Medal, but is realistic enough to know that if he heads to England during the winter it will be for the county Twenty20 competition.

"I thought this year, with the amount of one-day cricket and the World Cup in India, that would really improve my chances of getting a contract," he said. "The World Cup years are usually more in favour of the one-day players, but it didn't quite go through as I thought it might."

He has already turned down a T20 contract with Northamptonshire for the winter because it clashed with Australia's itinerary and his management is now scouting for other opportunities on and off the field. Having started a communications degree before his international career blossomed, he would enjoy a role in the media.

Ideally he'd love to be a sideline reporter or a behind-the-scenes man who details the extensive preparation of high-profile players. "Missing a Cricket Australia contract gives me these sorts of opportunities," he said. Support has come quickly from his followers on Twitter and Facebook and 47% of voters in a poll on Cricinfo's Australia home page believe he didn't deserve to lose his deal.

Bracken isn't sure what happens next in New South Wales' contract process but he does know about the IPL auction later in the year. Injuries and Australian commitments ruled him out of the first two tournaments and his contract for this event was bought out by Bangalore during his knee rehabilitation. He is well-suited to a role as a Twenty20 bowler for hire, giving away less than seven runs an over and achieving a strike-rate of 19.8 during 19 internationals.

While he was away from the Australian team Ryan Harris, Clint McKay and Doug Bollinger grew in popularity and won contracts along with Brett Lee and Shaun Tait. At New South Wales there is impressive younger talent in Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Trent Copeland. The environment has changed and Bracken is aware of it.

"I've been lucky to be on a CA contract for the last eight or nine years and it's been very good to be on them," he said. "Missing out is never a great state to be in ... It's a chance to get back and re-set goals. It's a time to sit back and have a look at a few things."

He is determined to be ready for New South Wales' first game in October and the overall aim remains. "I want my contract back, plain and simple."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 11, 2010, 5:11 GMT)

bracken easiky should be in. the current bowlers get there good stats from versing amatuer teams, put the against india n see

Posted by vigneshvinu on (April 9, 2010, 15:20 GMT)

Bad luck for Bracken, after Mcgrath he is the only bowler who uses his brain not speed, he his very handful player in subcontinent pitches,but we cannot tell that ACB has been made wrong decision, bcoz bracken is out of action for more than a year. Now, bracken has to work hard to get back the aussies team and it will be difficult for him to complete ahead of new bowlers like Bollinger,harris, siddle & of course johnson who are currently performing welll.

Posted by PaulosBoys on (April 9, 2010, 13:26 GMT)

Bracken is the best limited over fast bowler who uses his brain among the aussie bowling LOT.With the t-20 madness which we are seeing these days i think CA contract denial is a blessing in disguise for him. He could be a part of KFC bigbash, Pro-40, UK T-20 and IPL without any australian national commitments. Good luck Nathan!!!

Posted by   on (April 9, 2010, 11:47 GMT)

Though its good to know that youngsters are doing well, but Aussie's need some experience. I think Doug and Ryan will be good bowler in seaming condition but they might suffer in one-day or T20 as they are one dimensional bowler and doesn't have as much variety as Bracken. They will bowl well and get wicket if Tait generates some pace from one end for them to work from other. It would be interesting to see how Doug and Ryan reacts if they are being taken to cleaners in sub-continent during World cup. I think they need Bracken for sub-continent.

Posted by gyanesh_don on (April 9, 2010, 11:07 GMT)

brett lee and shoaib akhtar are the two most over rated fast bowlers of recent times, while akhtar is no longer in pak team, why is lee there in place of bracken and clark is beyond imagination.

Posted by Samdanh on (April 9, 2010, 10:46 GMT)

I am surprised at the exclusion of Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark. Australia would have done better to have these players in their team especially for the World T20 inWest Indies where the pitches are expected to be slower and balls are expected to keep low. I am also afraid the chosen attack is one dimensional-all pace (leave alone the one spinner) which would only help batsmen as the ball will come at the right speed for attacking strokeplay. On such slow wickets Stuart Clark's nagging accuracy, and variations in speed and length from both Stuart Clark and Bracken would have been quite handy and very effective. At least at present it looks like the mess up in selection that happened in the all crucial Ashes series' last Test match in 2009, is all set to be repeated. As an Australia supporter I can only hope that the selection decisions this time click rather than fail again. Best Wishes to Australian team

Posted by 5860733 on (April 9, 2010, 7:13 GMT)

CA is really making the mess of their best playerz .... look at Bret Lee !! he is the worst bowler in the Ipl !! so y he z given the contract ... BRacken is my favourite bowler and u dnt hav a place in the teamm for him....!!

Posted by shakir23 on (April 9, 2010, 5:33 GMT)

aww. nathan bracken is one of my favourite aussie bowlers and its been sad he hasnt been given a contract

Posted by mtambie on (April 9, 2010, 4:32 GMT)

Bracken has 174 ODI wickets at 24.36 with a econ. of 4.41; other cricketing nations could only wish they had a fast bowling choice like Bracken. I think he got a raw deal, the ACB made a wrong and harsh decision.

Posted by __PK on (April 9, 2010, 2:23 GMT)

Good call by CA. Bracken's six-times-per-over slower ball was starting to become easy pickings for top class batsmen - just look at his stats from 2009 onwards. The South Africans in particularly saw him coming a long way off. No doubt he was a fine ODI bowler prior to then, but unless he comes up with another trick, he's history. Mind you, most Oz cricketers fire after getting dropped from the CA contract list, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad call dropping them. We have a long line of quicks who are nearly ready to make a big impact and we need to give them all the exposure we can.

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