'It's harder than I thought it would be' April 2, 2007

Consistent Bracken keeps things tight

Cricinfo staff



Nathan Bracken is comfortable with his role in the Caribbean © Getty Images

There has been plenty of attention on Australia's bowlers at the World Cup. Glenn McGrath has set a tournament record, Shaun Tait is hurling devastating inswinging yorkers, Brad Hogg has turned his form around dramatically, and Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds have both been coming back from injuries.

But the man with a better economy rate than all of them, Nathan Bracken, has slipped under the radar. Bracken's seven wickets have come at an average of 18.57 and he has gone for only 3.71 runs an over in Australia's five matches.

The fact that he has not claimed more than two victims in a game has let him go unnoticed, but he was clearly one of Australia's best when South Africa scored 294, taking 2 for 40 from his nine overs. Bracken, who was second on the list of ODI wicket-takers in 2006, said he was pleased with his efforts despite having no big hauls just yet.

"It's a lot harder with the new ball than I thought it was going to be," Bracken told AAP. "In the South Africa game, they came at us hard. I know there are going to be games where they are going to come out hard on flat wickets and take us on and we've just got to be prepared for that.

"The wickets just slow up a little bit and when the ball gets older and softer, it just doesn't quite come on as well. So the best time to go is with the new ball. We've seen that now, we know how to set up for that so we've prepared."

Bracken, who was in Australia's 2003 World Cup squad but did not get a game, said the bowlers were happy the rotation policy had been ditched in the Caribbean. He said they understood the importance of the system, however, and acknowledged that having rests over the summer allowed them to take a relatively injury-free attack to the West Indies.

Bracken said Australia's bowlers were working together well. "You enjoy it [now] and you start to get used to each wicket, get into your rhythm," he said. "You have got to learn quickly and your games shape up a little bit different where the Powerplays are at the moment in a lot of games the key areas."

Australia's attack has been settled so far in the tournament but Shane Watson's calf injury will alter the requirements for their remaining Super Eights matches. Australia's next game is against England on Sunday.

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