Bracey reflects on solid start to the season
16 May 2018
James Bracey’s unbeaten century for Gloucestershire on his first Specsavers County Championship appearance at Lord’s has fuelled a burning desire to play Test cricket at the hallowed venue.
And, while that may appear a lofty ambition for a 21-year-old still establishing himself in the Second Division of the four-day domestic competition, the talented Bristolian can now point to an obvious role model.
Somerset off-spinner Dom Bess, who has just broken into the England Test squad for the first time, is a couple of months younger than Bracey and the pair have faced each other in schools and age-group cricket over many years.
“It is a fantastic achievement by Dom and just shows that young players can break into international cricket if their performances are consistent enough,” said the Gloucestershire batsman.
“I sent him a message of congratulations because we have known each other for a long time and played a lot of cricket together.
Like Bess, Bracey has emerged from club cricket to make a massive impact at the start of his Championship career, despite having to combine it with studies at Loughborough University.
He averaged 74 in six innings for Gloucestershire at the end of last season, including a century against Glamorgan at Cardiff, and this summer has added two more hundreds, finishing not out on both occasions, to average well over 50.
His latest innings of 125 not out against Middlesex saw Gloucestershire to a draw on Monday. But it was the fact that he made the runs at Lord’s, which Bracey found most inspiring.
“Walking through the Long Room to get onto the pitch made me wonder what it must be like to do so for a Test Match,” he said.
“I tried to focus on the opposition because Middlesex are a very strong team, but there were times over the weekend when, of course, I was aware of the history attached to Lord’s.
“My only previous experience of playing there was in a University game. Doing so in a Championship match was very different and a Test would be something else again.
“It has always been my dream to play for England and when I see what youngsters like Dom are achieving I think it is a realistic target.”
Bracey is a product of Winterbourne and Bristol Cricket Clubs, as well as Gloucestershire’s Academy. His father and brother also play club cricket.
“Sadly work prevented any of my family being at Lord’s on Monday,” said Bracey. “They had been there earlier in the game, but had to watch my hundred on live streaming.
“Like against Glamorgan earlier this season, I had to bat time because we were under pressure as a team. Thankfully, all my partners contributed and this time we were able to save the game.”
Article written by Richard Latham for the ECB Independent Reporter Network