County Stats (19/20 season)
Harry Brook enjoyed an encouraging breakthrough season in Yorkshire’s first team in 2018, his standout innings being a brilliant second-innings century in an early season County Championship win over Essex at Chelmsford. In 2019, he added two more centuries – another in Championship cricket and his first in the List A arena.
Batsman Brook, now 21-years-old, debuted for the White Rose firsts in 2017 whilst still captain of the England Under 19s, but good form on pre-season tour in South Africa ensured he started 2019 as a first choice pick.
Brook’s initial chance came on the back of a string of impressive second XI and Academy scores, including a breathtaking match-winning century in the second-team one-day Trophy final against Middlesex at Emerald Headingley in mid-2017.
A product of the Burley-in-Wharfedale club, he had already played England Under 19s cricket at that stage (on tour in India at the start of 2017) and went on to captain them later in the year in 50-over cricket in the return series against the Indians. He also skippered them at the winter World Cup in New Zealand, where England reached the quarter-finals.
Brook made his debut in a Championship defeat against Middlesex at Lord’s in June, scoring 38 from number three in the order.
While that was his best return in four matches, he showed enough to indicate that he will play a huge part in Yorkshire’s future – why not England’s future?
“He’s got a very good temperament, a good technique, and we are hoping he will go on and be an outstanding cricketer for us across many years,” said White Rose director of cricket Martyn Moxon following Brook’s debut.
Brook’s run of scores to earn him a first-team debut, incorporating second XI and league cricket for the county’s Academy side, read: 127, 47 not out, 126, 112, 37 and 161 in six straight innings.
His 112 came off 103 balls in the one-day final, while the 161 came in a three-day draw against arch rivals Lancashire at Scarborough – both as an opener.
In a weekly local newspaper column during the 2017 summer, Brook’s team-mate Matthew Fisher said of him: “Harry is definitely one to watch.
“I know this is a big thing to say, but I haven’t seen a young batsman as destructive and as good as him since I’ve been at Yorkshire.
“He’s a fairly positive player. If it’s there, he’ll hit it. He’s nice on the eye, his attitude’s good, his temperament’s good, he has a lot of self-confidence and knows he’s good enough to be playing first-team cricket.”
Brook made his Yorkshire Under 13s debut in 2012, scored an unbeaten 70 for the Under 14s the following year and hit back-to-back centuries for the Under 15s against Cheshire and Notts within five days in 2014.
The right-hander also debuted for the Academy in 2014 just a fortnight after his twin tons, going on to captain them once in 2017.
Brook’s first senior Yorkshire ton came against Leicestershire in May 2017, a second-team Championship win at Kibworth. It was the aforementioned 127 to start his six-innings run to a berth in the firsts.
Brook enjoyed good form in New Zealand for the Under 19s, scoring 239 runs from five innings, including a century, at an average of 119.5.
His maiden first-team century was a second-innings 124 as Yorkshire recovered from being bowled out for 50 in the first innings at Chelmsford to win. He batted with Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, earning praise from them both.
Brook, who is not afraid to attack, especially against the spinners, got plenty of starts in one-day and T20 cricket throughout the campaign.
He warmed up for 2019 with a winter spell in Sydney Grade Cricket for the University of New South Wales club.
On reflection, that particular summer proved to be a mixed one.
He hit a superb 103 in the opening Royal London one-day Cup game of the season, a resounding win over Leicestershire at Emerald Headingley in April and shared a record fourth-wicket partnership of 2011 with Gary Ballance. He also recorded an excellent 101 in a four-day win over Division One leaders at the time Somerset at Headingley in July, batting at number six (would have been five but for a night-watchman).
Sandwiched in between, however, he had been left out of the side having struggled at the start of the season against the red ball at the top of the order.
He looks set for more responsibility in 2020, especially in one-day cricket with more senior players away featuring in the Hundred. Fingers crossed, this will be the year Harry Brook flies.