News by Ben Carbonaro 24/12/03
From his initial surprise selection in the squad for the 2001-02 Carlton Series, where he played in 6 of Australia’s 9 one-day matches, he has performed well at times during a rather spasmodic career, where he has not at any time been assured of a place for his country.
Unfortunately, he has had the misfortune of playing cricket in an era where Australia’s national team is so dominant as well being made up of so many high class players that are very much guaranteed their places from the selectors.
Doubters have been quick to dismiss Bracken as a player who was selected solely because he is a New South Welshman and that the national selection panel (NSP) has some sort of leaning towards players from this particular state. Officials from other States have been quick to be critical of both the selectors and Bracken, who many believe should not be an automatic selection in the Australian team in either Tests or one-day internationals.
However, he has regualrly proved them wrong by performing well, especially when he produced his best one-day international bowling figures of 3/21 against England at the Adelaide Oval during the latter stages of the VB Series last summer.
His first-class performances are not as good as his ING Cup (domestic one-day) performances for his State, which has resulted in different parts of the cricketing community questioning his inclusion as 12th man for the second Test against Zimbabwe, played in Sydney.
He was again one of the leading bowlers in the ING Cup last season, claiming 15 wickets at an average of 23.66 and had the best figures of 3/22 against Queensland at North Sydney Oval.
This performance, further reinforced his strength as a fast bowler who can perform under pressure at the highest level for his country.
He is one of a handful of promising bowlers who have been watched closely and fast tracked through the underage representative sides as well as development programs provided by Cricket New South Wales.
His first-grade debut for his original club, Bankstown-Canterbury at just 16 years of age demonstrates the enormous level of talent this young, left–arm fast bowler posseses and as a result, Bracken has earnt the right to selection in the National squad.