Aussie limited-overs cricket star Nathan Bracken took 186 wickets for Australia from 121 international matches – but surprisingly, politics is where the cult hero now plies his trade.
The left-arm quick was one of the first bowlers to really master the art of slower cutter balls, and was the second-fastest bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets – behind only two legendary players: Shane Warne and Dennis Lillee.
During his international playing days from 2001-2009, Bracken was known for flowing blond locks that were often held in place by a headband.
But he doesn’t look like that anymore.
The 45-year-old, who was raised in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, now resides on the state’s Central Coast, and is running as the Liberal candidate for The Entrance electorate in the upcoming State election.
Nathan Bracken took an incredible 174 wickets in a brilliant 116-match ODI career for Australia that was cut short by injury
The towering quick, pictured with wife Haley, is unrecognisable from his days when he was one of the Australia side’s most popular players
Bracken sends one down during the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy – which Australia won – sporting his iconic blonde locks
Gone are the iconic locks. The towering 195cm ex-cricketer now sports a short, cropped style with a middle part, which is often accompanied by a scruffy, pepper-coloured beard.
Since he had to retire in 2011 due to a debilitating knee injury – which he sued Cricket Australia for $1million over – Bracken has taken to a variety of jobs.
After doing a Bachelor of Communications, Bracken has dipped his toe in commentary, done a significant amount of cricket coaching, filled a variety of business manager roles and is currently an account manager at Boral Concrete, according to his LinkedIn page.
And now embattled Liberals leader Dominic Perrottet has turned to the ex-cricketer to try and overcome a 5.2 per cent swing against Labor incumbent David Mehan, who has held the seat since 2015.
Bracken, who has been a member of the Liberal Party for two years, previously ran as an Independent (who preferenced the Liberals) for the Federal seat in 2013, though he will be hoping to go much better this time around after only securing 8.2 per cent of the primary vote.
Nathan Bracken lives with long-time wife Haley and sons Chase and Tag on the NSW Central Coast after growing up in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney
Bracken celebrates a wicket in one of his five Tests for Australia. The left-armer was considered a limited-overs specialist given the stacked talent of quicks during his generation
The lanky quick said he wanted to give the burgeoning Central Coast population ‘a voice’ in State parliament ahead of the election – which the Labor party is heavily favoured to win – on March 25.
‘I’ve been on the Central Coast now for pretty much close to 20 years … I made a decision a while a go to not be someone who sits around and whinges about it …(I want to focus on) what it can be, the infrastructure, the opportunities all the residents want it to have,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.
‘What Dominic (Perrottet) has been through and where he is taking us … going forward, (it’s) a great opportunity to leapfrog out of Covid and put us on the front foot for the future.’
Though he appears to have a short memory when it comes to political allegiances.
When standing as an independent in the 2013 Federal election, Bracken insisted he had no interest in joining a major party, and ‘floats around’ the political spectrum.
‘Once you have alignment with a party you can’t make a judgement call on every issue,’ he told News Corp in 2012.
‘When I was playing cricket I knew where it was going, what my plan was, and if things changed I could go with it. With a party sometimes you can’t change direction.’
Nathan Bracken, sporting his iconic blonde locks, sends one down in Australia’s successful 2007 ODI World Cup campaign
But ten years down the track he insists that he has always been on the Liberals side.
‘My views have always been down the Liberal side of things, even when I ran as an independent, I preferenced the Liberals,’ Bracken said.
The popular community man, who has been an ambassador for a vast amount of charities, isn’t expected to win, unfortunately.
Forecasting site AE Forecasts gives the Aussie cricketer no hope of upsetting the incumbent, with Bracken just a 1.4 per cent chance of toppling Mehan as the seat swings even further to Chris Minns’ Labor.
That being said, he is expected to win slightly more of the primary vote given his shift to a major party.
The wily quick will need to draw on all those bowling skills of old and nab a huge swing in his direction.