Promotion favourites Yorkshire CCC set to be boosted by return of Harry Brook and Joe Root

HARRY BROOK is set to play for Yorkshire from the start of the season - and Joe Root for a healthy number of fixtures too - in a major boost to the club’s hopes of getting off to a flying start as it targets promotion back to Division One of the County Championship.
The presence of Joe Root, left, and Harry Brook, will hand Yorkshire a sizeable boost in the season's early weeks. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comThe presence of Joe Root, left, and Harry Brook, will hand Yorkshire a sizeable boost in the season's early weeks. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
The presence of Joe Root, left, and Harry Brook, will hand Yorkshire a sizeable boost in the season's early weeks. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Brook missed England’s Test tour to India this winter due to personal reasons, his grandmother sadly passing away.

The 25-year-old has not played any cricket since the T20 series in West Indies in December, but he has indicated his readiness to return to the fold.

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Root could be available for several County Championship games before the start of the Test summer against the West Indies in July.

There has been talk that the former England captain could make his county comeback for the second round of Championship matches against Gloucestershire at Bristol starting on April 12.

Brook is expected to be available from the opening game against Leicestershire at Headingley on April 5, having already pulled out of the Indian Premier League due to his family circumstances.

The presence of Root and Brook could leave the top-five looking healthier than a health freak who has just spent a year on a health farm… Adam Lyth, Fin Bean, Shan Masood, Root and Brook, a line-up good enough to be challenging for the Championship trophy itself, let alone for second tier promotion.

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Ottis Gibson, the Yorkshire head coach, must be salivating at the prospect as the club seeks a fast start after the off-field turbulence of the past few years.

The racism crisis has been a constant in the background; last year, Yorkshire lost 48 points in the Championship after admitting charges related to the affair, but now they really do have a clean slate - pun intended.

“Now that Brooky isn’t going to the IPL, I suspect he’s going to be available to us for the first few games, including Leicestershire,” remarked Gibson.

“He loves playing for us, and Rooty is also going to be available for some games in that early period. Having those two playing for us would be special.”

Indeed it would, Mr Gibson...

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Not least if Brook can even partly emulate the form that he showed at the start of 2022, Gibson’s first year as head coach

Brook’s first 10 innings in the Championship that season were: 101, 56 not out, 84, 77 not out, 194, 123, 41, 82 not out, 82 and 76.

Small wonder that he was called up to make his Test debut later that year, his returns for England having been hardly less striking - 1,181 runs in 12 Tests at 62.15.

Brook did not play for Yorkshire in any competition last year - a sign of the times and the global schedule.

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Nor did Root for that matter, his last outings in a Yorkshire shirt also coming in 2022 when he played three Championship and three T20 matches, the highlight for him a Roses hundred in the Championship at Headingley.

Brook is not in the 15-man party for Tuesday’s three-day warm-up against the Leeds-Bradford students at Headingley - or perhaps that should be “cold-up”, rather than “warm-up”, given the time of year.

It is difficult to remember off the top of one’s empty head if/when Yorkshire have played a proper friendly, as it were, earlier in this country than March 26, assuming that they can actually get on to the field amid a weather forecast that seems to be the converse of promising.

It will certainly be in sharp contrast to the conditions in Abu Dhabi, from where Yorkshire last week returned from a pre-season tour.

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They finished fourth out of six sides in the Abu Dhabi Counties Super Cup T20 competition, beating Somerset and also losing to Somerset and the Birmingham Bears, and then faced Warwickshire in a two-day red-ball game.

Yorkshire dismissed Warwickshire for 310 on the opening day and then scored 330-9 on day two.

“The facilities were good, the opposition as well,” commented Gibson of the tour.

“The boys were really focused and committed, and we got a lot of really good work done.

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“We worked very hard, and we were lucky with most things on the injury front.

“At the end of the two-day, Dom Bess dived for a ball and picked up a slight strain in his quad, but the physio said it’s nothing major, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.”

The university game - something of an annual curtain-raiser in the Yorkshire calendar - is free entry for all spectators.

Yorkshire face Durham in a behind-closed-doors two-day match on Easter Sunday and Monday before their Championship campaign starts in earnest with seven games - half of their four-day schedule - condensed into an eight-week period.

Yorkshire squad v Leeds-Bradford: Lyth, Bean, Wharton, Hill, Tattersall, Revis, Milnes, Thompson, Fisher, Coad, Moriarty, Luxton, Leech, Cliff, Edwards.

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