Match-fix video meant good news lay ahead
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.”