Cricket World Cup: Yorkshire CCC quintet could be key to England's trophy defence
Brook’s omission from the provisional party was perhaps the worst decision since Abraham Lincoln chose to watch a play at Ford’s Theatre, Washington, on the night of April 14, 1865.
As you may know, the 16th US president took a bullet through the head.
Although no one is suggesting that a similar fate should befall national selector Luke Wright and his colleagues after Brook’s initial snub (well, at least not until we know how the team performs in the tournament which they themselves kick off against New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Thursday in a repeat of the 2019 final), the wrong has been righted, as it were, and Brook is with the team.
The next question is whether he actually plays in that team, but with a draining schedule that involves new venues and internal flights for every group game, plus 11th-hour concerns surrounding Ben Stokes’s fitness, he must have a very strong chance and it will need a collective effort if England are to repeat their heroics of four years ago.
Brook, who came in, or came back, at the expense of Jason Roy, has an unremarkable record in one-day cricket per se: in just 21 appearances, including six for England, he has scored 466 runs at 27.41, an average that drops to 20.50 in one-day internationals.
But those statistics - essentially caused by a lack of opportunity in a T20-dominated era - are neither here nor there. The 24-year-old has otherwise taken to international cricket like a duck to water (1,181 runs in 12 Tests at 62.15) and is exactly the type of big-game player required for a challenge like this.
Make no mistake, that challenge is a big one - holders or not - for an England side whose average age of 31 has led to them being unoriginally dubbed “Dad’s Army” in certain quarters.
The lack of preparation coming into the tournament is certainly a concern - “We’re doomed!”, as Private Frazer might have said - with England looking somewhat undercooked as ODI cricket has taken more of a back seat, while their warm-up games have been hit by the weather.
But experience counts for a lot and glory would apply the gloss to the greatest period in England’s white-ball history, providing all the motivation for a talented team, some of whom will be taking part in a 50-over World Cup for the last time.
Victory in India, who will start as favourites on home soil, would be a greater achievement than 2019, not least in the absence of the man who set that ball rolling, the former captain Eoin Morgan, with much now resting on the shoulders of his successor, Jos Buttler.
Along with Brook, the batting is top-heavy with familiar faces to Yorkshire’s supporters. Bairstow remains one of the most destructive players going and, without Roy at his side, will be responsible for getting England off to some flying starts.
Malan, his new opening partner, whose contributions have basically made him un-droppable, is a different sort of player to Roy but an under-estimated one with a brilliant track record - 1,046 runs in 21 ODIs at 61.52, with five centuries.
With Root tucking in just behind, marshalling matters and basically doing Root-type things, there is real class and experience at the top of the line-up.
And then there’s Rashid…
At 35, the leg-spinner remains a wizard out of the Harry Potter school of wizardry, without whose magical powers England would never have achieved their white-ball revolution. Conditions should be to his liking and play into the hands of the little master.
Elsewhere, if one must look outside of Yorkshire, albeit reluctantly, the Lancashire duo of Buttler and Liam Livingstone bring brutal ball-striking and, in the latter’s case, useful spin too.
The Surrey trio of Gus Atkinson, Sam Curran and Reece Topley supply variety and excitement with the ball, while the Durham pair of Stokes and Mark Wood speak for themselves – as does the stalwart Warwickshire duo of Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes.
There is one more squad member…
David Willey, who missed the 2019 final to make way for Jofra Archer, who is now a travelling reserve on his way back from injury, is with Northamptonshire these days after several years at Yorkshire.
A sixth Yorkshire star in the 15-man squad, then?
Well, sort of.