Cricket: Trent Boult absence opens door for Doug Bracewell's Blackcaps redemption

With Trent Boult unavailable for at least the first of two tests in England next month, the Blackcaps will have a different-looking pace attack, when the tour begins at Lord's. 

One who could benefit is Doug Bracewell, whose strong form for Central Districts over the summer demanded his inclusion in the enlarged touring party.

But this Doug Bracewell is very different to the one that last played a test five years ago.

"With the bowlers, it's quite a tough team to crack into," he tells Newshub. "Everyone's firing on all cylinders."

Before the likes of Boult and Tim Southee became a global force, Bracewell did the damage with the ball, most memorably with a nine-wicket performance to inspire the Blackcaps to their first test win over Australia in 20 years in 2011.

"He's had a bit of a rough run with injuries as well, with his knee," says Blackcaps coach Gary Stead.

"It's taken him a while to get back to where he is now, but he's bowling beautifully and it's great to see him running around again like he's 25."

Bracewell has also had his issues off the field, with a third drink-driving offence in 2017 stalling his international career.

Now 30 years old and a father, there are hopes a new level of maturity can help return Bracewell to his best.

"Everyone does things when they're younger, and then as you grow and you get older, you realise the path you want to go on and the steps it takes to continue on that path," says assistant coach Luke Ronchi.

One of those steps has been a conscious effort to improve his batting, which has clearly paid dividends. 

Last season, Bracewell averaged more than 40 runs for Central Districts in the Plunket Shield.

"I guess you've just got to keep working hard and when you get an opportunity, try and take it," Bracewell says.

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