Australia have suffered a major blow before their first Champions Trophy match with Nathan Bracken ruled out of the tournament with a chronic knee injury. Cricket Australia confirmed Bracken would be sent home on Thursday due to the problem with his right knee.
"The nature of Nathan's right knee problem has meant that he has had some ongoing manageable pain, but this has now reached a point where he is unable to continue playing in the ICC Champions Trophy," Australia's physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. "He will return to Australia to consult a knee specialist for an opinion on the best course of action. His return to cricket will be determined after consulting the specialist."
The loss of Bracken will hurt Australia's attack as he is the team's highest-ranked one-day international bowler, sitting sixth on the ICC ODI rankings, ahead of the next Australian Mitchell Johnson in equal ninth. Bracken, who played in the recent one-day series in England, will also be in doubt for the Champions League Twenty20, where he was expected to represent New South Wales in early October.
Australia's first match of the Champions Trophy is against West Indies on Saturday. Cricket Australia has not yet confirmed a replacement for Bracken in the 15-man squad, although contenders will include Doug Bollinger, Stuart Clark and Brett Geeves.