Capping off great season at Yorkshire CCC for rising star Harry Brook

IT is doubtful whether there has ever been a more heartwarming moment in Yorkshire’s cricketing history than the one which took place directly before the match against Somerset at Scarborough this week.

With all of the Yorkshire fielders in place for the opening ball, and with Matthew Fisher about to run in to bowl it from the Trafalgar Square end, the Yorkshire captain Steve Patterson suddenly left his position at mid-off and began jogging towards the slip cordon some 50 yards away.

“What is he doing?” everyone thought.

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Let’s allow batsman Harry Brook to take up the story…

Yorkshire's Harry Brook celebrates his century against Somerset. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

“Patto was running towards me as I stood in the slips and I was like, ‘Patto, what’s going on? You can’t be going in at fifth slip!’

“Then he suddenly presented me with my first-team cap, and it was a really special moment. I wasn’t expecting it, and I felt really proud.

“It’s a big thing, because everybody wants to get their Yorkshire first-team cap. It’s so good to be up there alongside some of the great names who’ve been there and got it before me.”

No sooner had Patterson presented the 22-year-old with the treasured headwear than the Yorkshire players converged on Brook to offer their congratulations. There were hugs, handshakes and pats on the back before everybody returned to their places and the game got under way.

And what a game it was for the brilliant young Brook.

He celebrated the presentation of his cap – usually made in a small ceremony in front of the pavilion, perhaps before the players have taken to the field, or during an interval – by scoring a superb 118, a match-winning effort as Yorkshire won by an innings and 33 runs to reignite their hopes of winning the Championship.

On a pitch on which only one other batsman passed 32, his Yorkshire team-mate Jordan Thompson, who struck a fine 57, Brook looked like he was batting on a different strip during an innings that spanned 165 balls and contained 18 fours and a six.

His efforts helped Yorkshire to a total of 308 all-out in reply to Somerset’s 134 before the visitors were dismissed for 141 second time round as Yorkshire wrapped up victory inside two days, Fisher supplying career-best match figures of 9-64.

“Fish bowled outstandingly well,” said Brook, “and the other bowlers backed him up superbly. I can’t believe we won it inside two days. It was a great team performance.”

The match provided further evidence of Brook’s burgeoning ability. There has been plenty of talk around him lately – not least from Ben Stokes, his Northern Superchargers captain, who ventured that “I don’t think it will be too long before we see him wearing the Three Lions”.

It would certainly seem to be a question of when, not if, Brook takes the step up, with Yorkshire first XI coach Andrew Gale predicting that he could feature for England in white-ball this winter.

But Brook has his feet planted firmly on the ground, saying: “I’ve drifted into that in the past, thinking about England, but it can be a lot further away than you think, and I’m just trying to win as many games as I can for Yorkshire. It’s a tough game at times, and you’ve got to keep working hard.”

Brook is clearly a batsman who works hard at his craft. A back-and-across trigger movement, modelled on the likes of his Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance, has brought a lot more solidity to his game and a growing maturity across the formats.

For such a fluent ball-striker, one who can make the game look ridiculously easy at times, Brook has realised that it is not enough to have all the shots and that a solid defence is the vital foundation on which they are expressed. In short, he is adding substance to the free-flowing style with better decision-making.

“I think I’ve got a solid game-plan now in red-ball,” said Brook, who has scored two Championship centuries this season and who enjoyed an excellent campaign in white-ball cricket.

“I’m definitely a lot more patient and I’ve got a better defence. Before I didn’t really leave the ball, so I’d nick off a lot, but I think I’ve only nicked off once or twice this year. I’m just backing myself to hit the ball and leave it when it’s not there to be hit.”

Brook continued: “I just want to help win games for Yorkshire. Hopefully I contributed quite a bit to winning that match (against Somerset). I felt good from ball one, and I was actually fuming when I got out. I was eyeing up a double hundred, even though it was quite some way off, but I was happy that I got to three figures and, of course, to come away with my first-team cap.”

It was richly deserved and memorably presented – a classy touch in honour of a classy player.