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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh .......... Michael Bracewell who !>!??

What a capture !  .. .. can you guess, who the bowler is ?? !!  ??


After a thrilling last-over finish in Hyderabad, India romped to an eight-wicket victory in Raipur on the back of an inspired performance from their quick bowlers to take the series 2-0 with one match to go. India's domination started with a display of swing and seam with great accuracy to bowl New Zealand out for 108 in under 35 overs in an international debut for the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium.  The reflex return catch taken by Hardik Pandya was real class !! – something on this stadium at Naya Raipur, Chattisgarh.


Veer Narayan Singh (1795–1857) inspired the freedom fighters; he hailed   from Sonakhan, Chhattisgarh. He spearheaded the 1857 war of Indian independence in Chhattisgarh. He was hanged by the British  at Jaistambh Chowk of Raipur, Chhattisgarh.  Considered  "The 1st Chhattisgarhi freedom fighter",  his  ancestors were from Gond tribal group. He was thirty-five years old when he became the landlord of Sonakhan, Youngest landlord in the region.  The British arrested him in 1856 for looting a trader's grain stocks and distributing it amongst the poor in a severe famine year. He  escaped from prison, reached Sonakhan and formed an army of 500 men. Under the leadership of Smith, a powerful British army was dispatched to crush the Sonakhan army. Veer Narayan Singh's martyrdom has been resurrected in the 1990s and he has become a potent symbol of Chhattisgarhi pride.  He was executed on 10 December 1857 at Jaistambh Chowk of Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Today’s T20I was played at Naya Raipur in the stadium named after him.

In the first Onedayer at Hyderabad, from  131 for 6, New Zealand mounted a stunning comeback to get close to a target of 350.  Shubman   Gill became the youngest double-centurion in ODIs before Bracewell made a game out of a chase of 350 from 130 for 6 with a sensational 140 off 78 balls. Eventually New Zealand were within two sixes - Bracewell had hit 10 already - of levelling scores when they lost their last wicket with four balls to go.   Bracewell, who ?  

In Dec 2011 -  in a low scoring Test, Aussies had the match totally in their control chasing a modest 241 and cruising at 159/2 – it turned out to be different at Hobart, Tasmania.  Can you imagine a Team getting bowled out for 150 on the first day and still winning the match ? –  James Pattinson’s 5 for 51 pushed down Kiwis without Daniel Vettori and Ross Taylor standing in to a low score; but Chris Martin, debutant Boult and Doug Bracewell with 3 apiece ensured a slender lead for NZ bowling out Australians for a paltry 136.  

We had heard of John Bracewell, the tall spinner who did well in Indian soil, decades back.   After Phil Hughes got out early, at drinks on 4th day, Australia were cruising at 94/1 with Warner making 60 of those.  Khwaja was out at 122 – still the victory very much looked that of Aussies.    At 159 they lost Ponting and Clarke and the 190s was jinxed as they lost Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc  and suddenly defeat was staring at them.  It was the tall Doug Bracewell who did all the damage which until then was expertly guided by David Warner who made a very good century.  In the end, there were so many referrals, which went against the Black Caps and with less than 10 to score, an Aussie victory looked a reality – then with 8 to be scored, Bracewell cleaned up Nathan Lyon to bring about a New Zealand win after decades.     

The test ever would be remembered for the heroics of Douglas Andrew John Bracewell only 21 years of age who with that lost wicket had figures of 6/40.  it was  only his third Test  after his debut against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo in Nov 2011.  He is the nephew of John Bracewell.  

Brendon Bracewell was one of four brothers who played first-class cricket, and as a right-arm fast bowler he was picked to tour England in 1978 as an 18-year-old on the strength of three first-class matches. He made an immediate impression in his debut at The Oval where he removed Graham Gooch and Mike Brearley in his opening burst.  Years later, played John Bracewell, a  resourceful offspinner with a high action, and a useful, hard-hitting batsman.   He took three six-fors, all of them in New Zealand wins, the most famous of which was at Auckland in 1985-86. Bracewell's 6 for 32 helped the Kiwis to a victory that made them the first side to beat Australia in two series in one winter, and he became the first New Zealand spinner to take a ten-for.  He returned to New Zealand, as the national coach, in September 2003. He guided New Zealand through a moderately successful period and took them to his first World Cup as coach with momentum having won the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy for the first time.  


From their family, another - Mark Andrew Bracewell too played first class Cricket in New Zealand and the hero of 1st ODI at Hyderabad was his son.   The latest member of the Bracewell dynasty to represent New Zealand, Michael Bracewell  made a late introduction to international cricket when he was handed his ODI cap in 2022, playing three times against Netherlands. He was subsequently included in New Zealand's squad for their Test tour of England, and won a debut at Trent Bridge after the captain, Kane Williamson, was ruled out by a positive Covid test on the eve of the match.

Nephew of former internationals John and Brendon, and son of Otago first-class cricketer Mark, it should be no surprise that Michael began playing cricket when he was five.    

The Super Smash innings - the highest T20 score in New Zealand - encouraged Bracewell to sign up for the 2022 IPL auction, but his name didn't come up for bidding either then or at the 2023 auction. The Hyderabad special, though, is sure to have made an impression on IPL insiders. Wasim Jaffer, the Punjab Kings batting coach, is one of them - he called Bracewell's six-hitting "mesmerising".  

On that eventful day, Bracewell took the game deep and tense and brought Kiwis almost 2 shots closer to victory but failed so close.  Bracewell has already earned a deal with Worcestershire for the Vitality T20 Blast. The IPL may soon be ready for 'the Beast' too.  He started  as a top-order batter, but has now stepped up as a finisher. He also bowls offspin and can keep wicket if needed.   In July 2022,  playing his 2nd T2oI,  Bracewell became the third New Zealand man to take a T20I hat-trick after Oram and Southee.  

Before  concluding, the photo at the start is :    .. .. John Bracewell delivery way back in 1983 – scanned from a book by Patrick Eagar, Collins Publishers, London.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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