James Bracey talks about his role on England's cricket team
James Bracey was an unused member of England’s team in 2020 but he was promoted to the main squad with an increased role. He is now a solid member of the team and a possible foundation for the future of English cricket.
Despite his amazing performance in county cricket, Bracey never thought he would get called up to the main squad. He was contacted due to Ben Foakes’ injury that he sustained when he slipped in the dressing room. This was unfortunate for Foakes but it was a blessing in disguise for Bracey.
Bracey was honoured with the call-up but at that point, all he could think about was Foakes. It proved Bracey is a good man because he made sure to check on the player who he was replacing.
‘I didn’t really have it on my radar to be there as a keeper – I knew Ben was highly likely to take those gloves’, Bracey said. ‘When I got the call it didn’t really sink in straight away, but when I arrived in London it started to sink in that it was a distinct possibility. I am gutted for Ben’.
Bracey’s rise to prominence
2020 was not the best year for Bracey as he was only seen as a reserve player for England. He was thriving in the county scene but it didn’t work out for him with England. He was in the biosecure bubble but he didn’t get much playing time with the rest of the squad. However, those training sessions have paid off for him as he knows how the system works and the adjustment period didn’t have to take long.
He has played well in all facets of the game which includes batting and a wicket-keeper. He honed his craft with Gloucestershire and it has paid dividends since Bracey is now a prominent player in the England system.
When asked about his journey towards the Three Lions squad, he said, ‘I have worked really hard on my keeping ever since coming into the Lions and I feel like it is in a good place. I worked hard with the other keepers on tour and the keeping coaches, and I feel I am in a really confident place with that. I am really glad now that I put in that extra shift because it puts me in a better spot now’.
Some people believe that once pro athletes reach their goal, they tend to take it slow. This is not the case with Bracey and England because he will work even harder when he reaches the top tier. England is one of the best cricket countries and being complacent can play a big factor in being removed from the squad.
Bracey said, ‘I’ve had a lot of times this winter when I’ve been trying to calculate how I’m getting in the team, but the fact of the matter is sometimes it happens when you don’t expect it. That time hopefully has now come’.
England is filled to the brim with talent and Bracey is just the latest player to receive a chance to shine for the Three Lions.
Bracey is not brushing away the fact he made the team due to Foakes’ injury. This has led to Bracey working much harder compared to his teammates since he knows his post is in jeopardy. It is a great mindset given that he wants to remain in the squad for a long time.
Words: Cholo Martin