DateLine: 27th September 2006
Left arm seam bowlers can be a problem for the best of batsmen and Australia have been fortunate in having many of them over the years. The names of Bill Johnston and Alan Davidson come readily to mind and Nathan Bracken is the latest in the long line of such bowlers. Tall and slim, Bracken has all the qualities of a leading purveyor of pace but catches the eye most with his ability to swing the ball away alarmingly in the classic manner of Davidson. With his height he is able to achieve steep bounce and with these twin qualities he can be a batsmanís nightmare and a captainís dream. But with Australia boasting of an embarrassment of riches in the pace department Brackenís opportunities have been limited and have generally been restricted to the one day arena. Immensely gifted with an ideal temperament Brackenís reward for several outstanding performances at the domestic level came in the form of the Don Bradman young Australian cricketer of the year award in 2001. He made his maiden Ashes tour the same year but a shoulder injury restricted him to just two matches. He returned to the Aussie team for the 2003 World Cup when Jason Gillespie dropped out with an injury. He finally made his Test debut in 2003-04 but was treated rather harshly by the lustrous Indian batting line up. Since then he has been called up for Test duty whenever the senior bowlers have been injured or unavailable but remains more or less a regular in the one day squad where he has proved his worth Ė a fact underlined by impressive figures by way of average, economy rate and strike rate.