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James Bracey signs Gloucestershire extension

James Bracey signs Gloucestershire extension
James Bracey signs Gloucestershire extension
©Gloucestershire CCC

Gloucestershire Cricket wicketkeeper/batsman James Bracey has signed a two-year extension at the Club, seeing him remain in Bristol for the next three seasons.

The 23-year-old Bristolian has been regarded as one of the best young talents in England since his breakout year in 2019 in which he was nominated for the PCA Young Player of the Year alongside Tom Banton, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley.

Speaking on his contract extension Bracey said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed an extension with the Club until 2023. I can’t wait to pull on the Glos shirt again and build on the accomplishments of the last couple of seasons.

“We have a great squad of players and I’m looking forward to getting back to Bristol and getting on the pitch with my teammates. Hopefully we can continue to enjoy our cricket and see more success in the next three years.”

Currently on the fringes of the England Test team, Bracey has quickly made a name for himself on a national level, snagging every opportunity with his signature black gloves that resemble those of Gloucestershire legend Jack Russell.

After making an impression in Australia with the England Lions last February, Bracey made 85 from 194 in the first England intra-squad match of 2020 and has since featured as a reserve on each of the following Test series against West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.

Former Gloucestershire and England wicketkeeper Jack Russell had only positive things to say about the extension of Bracey’s contract:

“As a former wicketkeeper I am absolutely delighted to see that one of England’s brightest talents has signed a further extension to his contract at Gloucestershire. It’s been a pleasure seeing him grow from an academy player to receiving international recognition at such a young age.

“Not only is he extremely talented with both bat and gloves but he has a superb attitude to improving his game and achieving high standards. It’s absolutely crucial that the County keep their best young players as a nucleus for a bright future, so I congratulate all the coaching staff and everyone at the Club for signing James Bracey until 2023. I look forward to watching them all progress and build a fine legacy of their own that I know all of us supporters will cherish.”

Aside from his newly found England responsibilities Bracey kept wicket for Gloucestershire in the 2020 Vitality Blast and helped The Shire to a first Finals Day appearance since 2007. He once again displayed his natural ability behind the wicket, finishing with the second most stumpings in the competition (5). He also contributed 125 runs at a strike rate of 134.40.

Interim Head Coach Ian Harvey said:

“It is fantastic news for the Club to have re-signed James. What he has been able to achieve over the last couple of years has been very impressive, and he has quickly become a senior player in the dressing room.

“The qualities he brings to the side, over and above his ability with the bat and gloves, are a fantastic attitude and some great recent experience in and around the England set-up which he can share with the other lads. Keeping your best players gives you the opportunity to challenge and compete in matches and tournaments and ensures that you are moving in the right direction as a Club.

“He’s a great bloke to have around and we’re looking forward to working with him and seeing him perform in the next few seasons.”

Bracey’s ability to keep wicket and bat effectively in all formats has been the foundation for his rapid rise. In 2019, James finished the season as Gloucestershire’s highest run scorer in limited overs competitions with 578 runs made in the Royal London Cup and Vitality Blast. He also finished with the second most dismissals in the T20 competition (11), a mightily impressive campaign for the young man who was making his professional debut in both formats.

In the County Championship, only Chris Dent and Ryan Higgins made more runs for The Shire – the second consecutive year in which he finished top three in runs.

Club captain Chris Dent also commented on Bracey’s importance to the team:

“It’s great news for the Club that James has signed a contract extension, he’s an extremely important part of our squad on and off the field.

“Since he broke into the first team in 2016, he has not stopped improving and has shown his quality in all formats. Going forward he will play a really important role in our pursuit for silverware.”

Bracey will resume training with Gloucestershire ahead of the opening County Championship match against Surrey at the Bristol County Ground on 8 April.

© Cricket World 2021