Gloucestershire’s James Bracey is in line to make his England debut as a wicketkeeper in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, which begins Wednesday; view live coverage on Sky Sports Cricket
James Bracey is expected to make his test debut as England’s wicketkeeper when they face New Zealand at Lord’s (Getty Images)
James Bracey admits that the prospect of a test debut as a wicketkeeper was never “on his radar” until he learned of Ben Foakes’ bizarre injury in the run-up to England’s series against New Zealand.
The 24-year-old Gloucestershire player, an England batting reserve for the past year, is expected to grab the gloves to launch his international career when the first test begins Wednesday at Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket.
Bracey had planned to make his tryout debut as a first-rate specialty hitter, but Foakes’ hamstring injury, which he sustained when he slipped after playing for Surrey just over a week ago, makes it almost sure to complete behind the stumps against the Black Caps. .
“When I found out about Ben it was kind of shocking,” Bracey said. “It really wasn’t on my radar to be there as a goalkeeper.
“Obviously I was there as one of the two, but it was very likely that Ben took the gloves. When I got the call, I didn’t immediately realize it, but once I got to London it started to become a distinct possibility.
“I’m very excited, but gutted by Ben. I spent many times this winter, trying to calculate how I am getting into the team and how I am going to take advantage of that opportunity.”
“A lot of times it happens when you don’t expect it and I hope that moment is now. I have benefited from Ben having a freak accident and it is an opportunity for me not only to show what I can do with the gloves, but the bat.”
With first-choice goalie Jos Buttler, along with Jonny Bairstow, originally scheduled to appear in the Indian Premier League, now postponed until fall, Foakes had been in line to win his ninth test cap at Lord’s.
Instead, the injured glove has provided a valuable source of information for his potential replacement, whose only previous experience holding the wicket at Lord’s came during the Gloucestershire County Championship win against Middlesex in early May.
“Ben has been brilliant with me for the past 48 hours,” Bracey said. “He has been very helpful and gave me a couple of tips in terms of staying close to the different bowlers and the challenges you might face.
“In Asia this winter, I’ve kept a lot of the bowlers in practice. That’s why I reached out to Ben, because there are little things you don’t get by not keeping people in games. It’s really key to identify that. each one is different to maintain it.
“I’ve worked really hard to support myself in the last few years since I got on the Lions tour, with the other goalkeepers and coaches, and I feel like he’s in a really good place.
“Obviously Gloucestershire’s attack is different from England’s and it will be different in terms of the pace of the field and the slope at Lord’s, sometimes you have to work with small angles.
“But it’s all the things that bowlers, Rooty and other guys have given me little advice about. I’m sure when Wednesday comes around I’ll be in a good place and as long as he proves to be a good goalkeeper, he will definitely help me. go ahead “.
Assuming England hands the gloves over to Bracey, the southpaw will likely drop the batting order to deal with his dual role, possibly with six or even seven instead of the top three originally allotted for him.
He added: “I’m prepared for the fact that if I play, I could hit at six or seven, but I think with my skill set I can also fit into that role. I’m not very used to hitting down.” order, but I’m sure I’ll be quick to do it.
“When it comes to hitting, I like to be brave and go into a battle. I’m not afraid to put in those hard yards and go through tough times that I know I will surely face when I play test cricket.
“We know New Zealand is going to put pressure on us and, in those scenarios, I feel like I can prosper and move forward.”
Watch the first test between England and New Zealand, at Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket starting at 10am. M. From Wednesday.