While there I came across an interesting story about Nathan Bracken learning to bowl spin to get himself back into the Baggy Green Test squad.
For mine the idea has a lot of merit. The selectors get wood when someone can bowl slow. Spinning the ball does not appear to be a necessity, nor is a decent record at shield level. As long as you claim to be a spinner you can get the baggy green for a test or two before getting dumped quicker than a knocked up Britney.
In recent memory we gave Beau Casson a test in the West Indies before dropping him and tearing up his central contract, Bryce McGain was a virtual selection before his shoulder imploded, Cameron White got 3 Tests as our very own answer to Ashley Giles (not that anyone ever asked that question), Jason Krezkya played a test and took 12 wickets to be dropped then picked up a training injury, and Nathan Hauritz also had a shot in Adelaide.
Bracken is tending towards the Funky Miller style of right-arm off breaks in the 90-95 kph range, and this makes a hell of a lot of sense. As the worlds’ top ranked one-day bowler he has the experience, temperament and man-hair that will help him become a success in the spinning role.
Also it’s refreshing to see a player who on paper really could be in the Baggy Green squad go and do something about it rather than just bítch to the media about non-selection. Brad Hodge if you’re reading this, give yourself an uppercut.
The final reason this is a good idea is that Ricky and the selectors are abnormally excited by any player who has a dual purpose. We’ve got Andrew Symonds as a specialist no 6 batsman who doesn’t score any runs/gun fielder, Shane Watson as a bowler/opening/no 7/catwalk diversion, Michael Hussey who bats 5/bowls impotent medium pace/couriers hats to fine leg, Simon Katich to open the batting/not bowl cause Ricky doesn’t give him the ball and Matthew Hayden to apply pressure to the top order/preach the gospel/píss off the 3rd world.
Curiously, Bracken claims his biggest obstacle in becoming a spinner is talking his captains into throwing him the ball on a short run-up. Here’s a brainwave, bowl well in the nets and prove yourself to them. Or even better, bowl the first ball normally then just fúck ‘em and bowl your spinners. If you’re half decent they’ll be on board in no time.