James Bracey: England have included a debutant wicket-keeper batsman for the first international match of this summer.
England Test captain Joe Root has embraced the decision of spectators being allowed to watch live matches from tomorrow when England will host New Zealand for the first Test of the summer at Lord’s.
“It will be great to have fans back in, that atmosphere back and Seeing people enjoying our sport again live. That’s what it’s all about. As a kid growing up, going to those games meant a huge amount to me and it will be great to see some youngsters in and around the crowd this week enjoying live cricket again,” Root told reporters on the eve of the match.
While the second Test at Edgbaston will allow a tentative of 18,000 people to watch the match live, the season-opener will only see around 7,500 people per day at the historic venue.
Who is James Bracey?
Yet to announce their Playing XI for the first Test, England have revealed the much expected debut of Gloucestershire wicket-keeper batsman James Bracey. Part of the original 20-member squad after spending the winter as a standby player on the tours of Sri Lanka and India, Bracey was behind Ben Foakes in the pecking order.
However, with Foakes injuring his hamstring due a freak dressing room incident, England had to include Bracey as a wicket-keeper batsman. Bracey, who generally bats at No. 3 for his county club, expect him to bat in the middle-order on his national debut tomorrow.
Look at that from James Bracey 😍 pic.twitter.com/fayH9amQmQ
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) May 31, 2021
In 45 first-class matches in his five-year career so far, Bracey has scored 2,575 runs at an average of 36.78 including six centuries and 12 half-centuries. In the 11 innings of the ongoing County Championship 2021, Bracey’s 479 runs have come at 47.90 with the help of a century and four half-centuries.
“He has worked extremely hard and been around the squad for a good while now. He has a great work ethic and gone back and performed extremely well for Gloucestershire, so we are really excited to see him take his opportunity. We know how good a player he is and he is in great form. It’s a chance for him to embrace and enjoy a great stage of his career,” Root said about 24-year old Bracey.
Stuart Broad named as Joe Root’s deputy
Another major development for the hosts lies in the promotion of veteran pacer Stuart Broad who will be England’s designated vice-captain for this series. In the absence of all-rounder Ben Stokes (injury) and wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler (rested), England have given the responsibility to a 34-year old player who has captained England in 30 white-ball matches between 2011-2014.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 1, 2021
Root, who has captain Broad in 44 and played alongside him in 93 Tests till date, claimed Broad to be the “right man” to do the job in Stokes and Buttler’s absence.
“Stuart has been a senior player for a long time. He speaks extremely well, he’s got a very good cricket brain, and captaincy experience within the short format. He’s the right man to take that in Ben [Stokes] and Jos’ [Buttler] absence,” Root added.