John Bracewell insists aim is promotion from County Championship for Gloucestershire in 2013

First published in Thornbury Sport

JOHN BRACEWELL is hoping 2013 will be a new beginning for Gloucestershire and insists promotion in the County Championship is “a minimum requirement”.

The New Zealander has built a young squad with a reduced playing budget following a mass exodus of senior players since rejoining the club as director of cricket in 2009, but says that can no longer be used as an excuse to the long suffering members.

While Gloucestershire have showed plenty of promise over the last couple of seasons, they have struggled for consistency, eventually finishing bottom of County Championship Division Two last year and once again failing to reach the semi-finals of the CB40 or Friends Life t20 competitions.

Bracewell said: “The players have to start showing improvement. That is the bottom line because you cannot go on being described as promising forever.

“We have confidence that a number of the guys are good enough cricketers to start becoming competitive in all forms of the game.

“They now have to start putting numbers on the board. It is as simple as that and they have been made well aware of it.

“We can no longer provide an environment that allows for excuses. This is the start of a new beginning for our club on and off the park.

“Promotion in the Championship has to be looked at as a minimum requirement. The second division is increasingly competitive when you consider that Lancashire have come down a year after winning the Division One title and have a far greater budget than ourselves.

“We have to be realistic about that, but at the same time look to improve in all formats of the game and start challenging for honours.

“Like all young teams we have been inconsistent. What we have to do is develop the necessary resilience to play our best cricket over longer periods.”

“It is a question of being competitive day-in, day-out. We don’t have the biggest squad so we are asking a lot of the players, but at some point both they and the coaching staff have to be held to account.”

Bracewell believes the signing of Australia A batsman Michael Klinger as the club’s new captain could make the difference next season.

He said: “We are investing in the squad with an excellent new captain in Michael Klinger and therefore our members are entitled to expect improvement.”

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