Match-fix video meant good news lay ahead

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - Harry BROOK York­shire bats­man

The mo­ment Harry Brook re­alised one of his dreams would come true was when he re­ceived a cau­tion­ary email, rather than a con­grat­u­la­tory call, in June.

He hap­pened to take a quick peek on his mo­bile – be­fore York­shire coach Ian Dews’ name flashed up to con­firm he would be mak­ing his first-class de­but against the tour­ing Pak­ista­nis.

“I was at school at the time, and I got an email through telling me that I had to watch a video about match-fix­ing,” he said. “I think it is what play­ers have to watch be­fore they make their de­but.

“So I thought some­thing was up here, and even­tu­ally Ian Dews rang me up and told me I was in the squad.

“To be hon­est, I didn’t think I’d done well enough in the sec­ond team, but with the hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion I’d tried to show at academy level, I hoped to do it.”

Keigh­ley-born Brook, 17, had just en­joyed a bumper week for Sed­bergh School but it was a rather brief bap­tism of fire – his walk to the mid­dle at Head­in­g­ley lasted longer than his in­nings.

“I was not re­ally that ner­vous – I just wanted to get the first one over with and out of the way – but ob­vi­ously not as quickly as a first-in­nings duck!” he said.

“I was pretty con­fi­dent but I got a de­cent ball from Mir Hamza but if I faced that ball again I’d like to think I’d be more pre­pared for it.

“All in all it was quite a good week for me, I’d scored more than 500 runs for my school but I’ve al­ways said I can never think I’ve made it un­til I’ve fin­ished my ca­reer.”

Brook has been think­ing about his ca­reer since he could hold a bat with dad David and as­sorted un­cles.

School­boy records have fallen – he sur­passed cur­rent Lan­cashire all-rounder Jor­dan Clark’s record in­nings for Sed­bergh when he made 198 against Durham School.

His school coach – and former Sus­sex and Durham keeper – Martin Speight has been an ally on many early morn­ings.

“My fam­ily have al­ways said that I wanted to play for Eng­land since I could talk,” said Brook. “At school I get up at 20 past six and bat un­til 20 past eight, and Martin is al­ways around if you want to put the work in.

“Out­side of pure cricket, we do a lot of gym work and fit­ness. That’s helped me a lot be­cause to be hon­est I was a bit of a porker grow­ing up!”

Brook’s pro­gres­sion has not es­caped the at­ten­tion of Eng­land as he has been called up to the Young Lions, an ECBbacked three-week tour that is un­der­way in Dubai.

He added: “Ob­vi­ously the sup­port we get at York­shire is bril­liant, so be­ing with Eng­land is not a com­pletely new ex­pe­ri­ence. But I’d say there is a lot stuff to do with the psy­cho­log­i­cal side of the game at Lough­broough.

“If you’re around peo­ple like James Tay­lor, Paul Colling­wood and Andy Flower, you’re only go­ing to im­prove if you put the work in.”

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