Harry Brook has all attributes to make it with England, says Yorkshire CCC coach Ali Maiden

IT would seem only a matter of time before Harry Brook makes his Test debut and Ali Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach, believes that the young man is ready and would not be overawed.

Brook, 23, is the leading run-scorer in the County Championship First Division with 635 runs at 158.75.

He has hit three centuries and three fifties in six innings this season and could potentially bat at No 5 in the New Zealand Test series that starts next month.

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Maiden – part of the new-look coaching set-up at Yorkshire, where he specialises in batting – has no doubt that Brook has got what it takes.

Harry Brook has scored six half-centuries in six innings this season (Picture: Getty Images)

“I think he’s ready,” he said. “Harry is in incredible form and I just feel privileged watching him bat.

“You just hope that if he does get in (the England team), he gets support from the whole country, the media and that things go well for him. I’m sure they would.

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he fits in lovely, he’s got a lovely manner and I think he’d handle it.

“I don’t think he’d be overawed by the occasion at all.

Harry Brook has raised his bat to acknowledge a half-century or more in all six of his County Championship innings so far this season for Yorkshire. (Picture: John Heald)

“Harry has been around the world now playing in big tournaments, and if you’re exposed to that sort of pressure and do well on the world stage, then you bring that confidence into your game (back to county cricket), and I think that’s showing.

“There’s been a lot of speculation about him playing for England in the last few weeks, and you see it, don’t you, where all of a sudden the media are talking about young players and their scores then deteriorate, but Harry’s scores keep getting better and are actually going the other way, which is a really positive sign.”

For the record, Brook’s scores this season are 101, 56 not out, 84, 77 not out, 194 and 123.

Without trawling through every scorecard in the club’s history, there cannot be many, if any batsman who has started the summer with six successive scores of 50-plus, with the pace of Brook’s accumulation (strike-rate 78.98) and selfless teamwork another big plus.

Harry Brook of Yorkshire bats during the LV= Insurance County Championship match between Gloucestershire and Yorkshire at Seat Unique Stadium. (Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Brook’s statistics rather speak for themselves and highlight how much he has “kicked on” this year.

Last summer, 14 Championship games brought him 797 runs at 37.95 – decent without being devastating, a solid sort of campaign, but now he has taken his batting to a whole new level.

“Harry says that his biggest development is that he’s more confident with his defence now,” added Maiden.

“He’s worked on his ability to defend and keep out the good balls. By doing that, it then allows him to expand and express himself with all the great attacking shots he’s got.

“I think, up until probably 12 months ago, he would say he didn’t feel as comfortable with his defence, or he didn’t trust his defence, but now he does.

“He’s hitting it sweetly in attack and defence.”

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Brook, who faces competition for a Test place from the likes of Dan Lawrence and Ollie Pope, could score 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May.

The feat has been achieved only nine times in the game’s history and not since Graeme Hick did it for Worcestershire in 1988, when he had five more innings than Brook has had presently, Hick striking 405 of his total in one famous unbeaten innings against Somerset in Taunton.

Brook has two more Championship matches left to score the 365 he needs – against Lancashire at Headingley from Thursday, and then against Warwickshire at Headingley from the following Thursday – and it would be a remarkable effort if he got there.

That it is even theoretically possible is tribute to a man who has qualities, believes Maiden, which set him apart.

“There’s a couple of characteristics which are strong in him which I’ve seen,” said Maiden, himself part of a coaching staff that has settled in quickly and gelled impressively under head coach Ottis Gibson.

“Harry is hugely driven and determined, he practises lots, but very specific practice, too. He’s very smart in what he does, and I think that’s really helped him improve his game.

“He also has a natural ability to strike a cricket ball, which all the best players have. He’s got that natural ball-striking ability.”

Brook is very much a three-dimensional batsman – or four-dimensional if you consider that he can thrive in all formats now played in England: first-class, 50-over, T20 and The Hundred.

Refreshingly, for a young player who can blast the ball out of the park with the best of them, Brook prizes first-class cricket above all and views Test cricket as the pinnacle. “There was a worry that he would become a white-ball specialist if he got down that route, but in his mind he has no interest in that,” added Maiden.

“Harry wants to play every format, and he wants to play for England. He wants to do everything, and that shows the drive and determination of the lad. He’s very clear in what he wants, and he knows his own game for a young man at that stage of his career, which is also impressive.

“He’s a great lad, too, and hopefully he gets his chance and carries on with the approach he has for us when he does get that chance (with England), because it will only serve him well.”