Bracewell relishes idea of crack at England

DOUG BRACEWELL: The Black Caps seasmer cut his foot on some glass during a post-party clean up.
DOUG BRACEWELL: The Black Caps seasmer cut his foot on some glass during a post-party clean up.

Ask Rory Fallon how it feels - to have one moment, one glorious moment, when your deeds are celebrated and seen as a defining moment for your sport, before fading away.

Fallon had it in Wellington on November 12, 2009, when he headed that cross in from Leo Bertos to beat Bahrain and send the All Whites to the World Cup.

Black Caps seamer Doug Bracewell had his in Hobart, on December 12, 2011. That day, the Central Districts left-armer helped his side notch their first test victory over Australia since 1993, claiming an impressive six for 40 on the final day to help New Zealand secure a famous seven-run win.

While 22-year-old Bracewell hasn't gone down the Fallon path - the former All Whites striker is struggling to get game time at Scottish club Aberdeen - the last 12 months have been tough.

In 10 tests in 2012, Bracewell took just 26 wickets at 37.38, with best figures of three for 25.

His struggles led to him being named in cricket website Cricket365's Worst Test XI of the year.

His test tour of South Africa wasn't much better, Bracewell claiming only four wickets at 46.75 in the republic.

In sport, redemption is only a game away, and with the upcoming three-match test series against England, there is a big chance for Bracewell to prove his worth again. He doesn't shirk from recalling his performances over the past year - but is enjoying cricket at the moment, and hopes to transport that to the sport's highest stage.

"There's been a lot of cricket, and yes there have been some ups and downs," Bracewell said.

"But I've been enjoying myself at the top.

"That's where I want to be. I just want to try and perform and contribute. I've been working hard on my batting. I haven't really contributed much with my bat yet so I look forward to getting into that."

After playing in the Twenty20 series against South Africa last December, Bracewell was rested for the recent three-match series against England.

Critics have argued that he should focus on his test game alone, but the young seamer, who scored 67 for Central Districts against Northern in their Plunket Shield clash in Nelson last week, wants to persist with all three forms of the game.

"I think that's a pretty good challenge for a bowler - to play all three forms," he said.

"I want to be doing that, so I've got to work harder at a few things with the white ball, and hopefully I can get another chance.

"An all-rounder spot is pretty crucial, especially in one-dayers and Twenty20s, so I think I've got to work hard at that and try to claim a spot there."

The New Zealand test squad to face England will be named by New Zealand Cricket today, and Bracewell is seen as a virtual shoo-in. He said he knew as much as anyone else regarding whether he'd be named or not, but said a first test series against England was something he'd long looked forward to.

"We'd be playing on three grounds that produce pretty flat wickets, so it's going to be tough for the bowlers. It's a big side, and it's going to be a challenge."

Meanwhile the Sunday Star-Times understands Hamish Rutherford will receive his first test match call-up when the New Zealand squad to take on England in a three-match series is named today.

Rutherford, son of former New Zealand test skipper Ken, made his Twenty20 and one-day debuts for the Black Caps against England over the recent weeks.

Auckland off-spinner Bruce Martin is also understood to be in line for a call-up to the test team.

The 32-year-old was in the New Zealand test squad to play South Africa in January.

However, he didn't start a game in the two-match series.

Sunday Star Times