Harry Brook has admitted that he has been disappointed with his contributions for England at the World Cup but has asked for patience as he learns on the job about an unfamiliar format for him.
So far in India Brook has scored 25 and 20, never lasting more than 23 balls. “Obviously I’ve had a couple of starts. It would have been nice if I’d gone on,” he said. He came to the World Cup having played just six one-day internationals and, though there have been 15 other senior 50-over matches, the last of those was in April 2019. He is settled in the England setup after playing 30 internationals in all formats over the last year but the nuances of the ODI remain a mystery.
“I’m very inexperienced in this format,” he said. “It does make a big difference having not played it, I think. But yeah, hopefully I can pick it up fairly quickly, and if I get another go then try and make a big score.
“I think it’s almost approaching the start of your innings like a Test match, and then obviously the longer you’re in, the easier it gets. You’ve just got to try and construct an innings better than I have done in the seven or eight games I’ve played. So you just keep on trying to learn and figure out the format.”
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In a squad packed with experience Brook has sought advice about the ideal approach. “Everybody’s just said, you’ve got a lot more time than you think,” he said. “I’ve played so much Twenty20 cricket over the last couple of years that if I see a ball go above my eyeline my eyes light up and I want to smack it. Just give myself a bit more time.”
But the process of accumulating greater knowledge about the format has not stretched to watching other teams in action – he has other priorities. “I’ve seen little bits and bobs but I’ve been playing quite a lot of golf, so that’s taken my full attention,” he said on Friday. “I haven’t really followed it the last few days.”
Brook’s place in the squad is down to his ability to cover multiple positions in the batting order, and Ben Stokes’s hip injury has given him a chance to prove himself. But Stokes’s rehabilitation continues to progress, giving him an outside chance of returning to the team to face Afghanistan on Sunday – at which point Brook may drop out again.
“I’ve no idea. I haven’t even thought about it, I’ve just been playing golf for the past couple of days,” he said. “But obviously Stokesy has to come back in. He’s one of the best players to ever play for England so whether it’s me or someone else missing out, he’s 100% coming back in the team.”
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Chris Woakes, meanwhile, missed England training on Friday with illness but at this stage is not considered a doubt for Sunday’s game.