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 his wavy blonde locks often held in place by a headband.
But he doesn’t look like that anymore.
The 45-year-old, who grew up in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, now lives 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 swift, pictured with wife Haley, is unrecognizable from his days when he was one of Australia’s most popular players.
Bracken sends one down at 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 cropped short style with a center parting, which is often paired with a scruffy, pepper-colored beard.
Since he was forced to retire in 2011 due to a debilitating knee injury – for which he sued Cricket Australia for $1 million – Bracken has taken on a variety of jobs.
Having done a Bachelor of Communications, Bracken has dipped his toe in commentary, done a significant amount of cricket coaching, held several corporate manager positions and is currently an account manager at Boral Concrete, according to his LinkedIn page.
And now the embattled leader of the Liberals, Dominic Perrottet, has turned to the ex-cricketer to try and win a 5.2 per cent battle against incumbent Labor leader 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 favored the Liberals) for the Federal seat in 2013, although he hopes to do much better this time after only 8.2 per cent of the primary vote.
Nathan Bracken lives with old 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 arm was considered a limited overs specialist given the stacked talent of quicks during his generation
The lanky swift said he wanted to give the burgeoning Central Coast population “a voice” in the state parliament ahead of the election – which the Labor Party is keen to win – on March 25.
“I’ve been on the Central Coast for almost 20 years now… I made a decision a while ago not to be one to whine about it… (I want to focus on) what it might be, the infrastructure, the opportunities that all residents want to have,” he told the Daily telegram.
“What Dominic (Perrottet) has been through and where he takes us… moving forward, (it’s) a great opportunity to jump out of Covid and put us on the front foot for the future.”
Although he seems to have a short memory when it comes to political allegiances.
When Bracken ran as an independent candidate in the 2013 federal election, he insisted he had no interest in joining a major party and was “floating” on the political spectrum.
“Once you’re aligned with a party, you can’t pass judgment on every issue,” he said News Corp in 2012.
‘When I played cricket I knew where it was going, what my plan was and if things changed I could go along with it. Sometimes you can’t change direction with a party.’
Nathan Bracken, with his iconic blonde locks, sends one down in Australia’s successful 2007 ODI World Cup campaign
But a decade later, he insists he has always been on the side of the liberals.
“My views have always been on the liberal side, even when I ran as an independent I favored the liberals,” Bracken said.
Unfortunately, the popular community man, who has been an ambassador for a host of charities, will not win.
Forecasting site AE Forecasts gives the Australian cricketer no hope of upsetting the incumbent, with Bracken only a 1.4 per cent chance of overthrowing Mehan as the chair swings even further to Chris Minns’ Labour.
That said, he is expected to win a little more of the primary vote given his move to a major party.
The crafty quick will have to make use of all those bowling skills of yesteryear and land a huge swing in his direction.