Yorkshire duo will learn ‘going upstairs’ with England, believes Otis Gibson

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson has already seen how much Harry Brook has grown since “going upstairs”, and he expects to see something similar when he next gets to work with Matt Fisher.

This winter the pair have become the latest in the long line of Yorkshiremen to play cricket for England.

Keighley-born batting all-rounder Brook made his international Twenty20 debut in Bridgetown in January and although he only scored 10 and did not bowl, it clearly had a positive effect judging by his performances in the Pakistan Super League, where he played a starring role for Yorkshire’s new partners, Lahore Qalandars. The 23-year-old made 41 not out as Qalandars won the final but his real highlight was a 49-ball unbeaten century against Islamabad United.

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Fisher, a 24-year-old York-born seamer, made his Test debut in the same city this week and marked it with a wicket with only his second delivery.

Matthew Fisher (C) of England celebrates his first test wicket, the dismissal of John Campbell of West Indies. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

Gibson, who played two Tests and 15 one-day internationals for West Indies, is expecting him to return to Yorkshire a better player.

“Once you go upstairs to international level, there is a lot of learning that happens,” said Yorkshire’s new coach.

“Brooky would have learnt a lot, even in the Pakistan Super League.

“He beat my team in the final (Gibson coached Multan Sultans) and he got a really good hundred in the PSL. His white-ball cricket is a very sound side of his game.

“We have been having a lot of conversations around getting his red-ball numbers up. Hopefully he starts the season well.

“Where England are at the moment, they are looking for quality players. And he is a quality player. Hopefully he can start the season well and be knocking on England’s door in red ball.”

Brook, who went into January’s international series on the back of a disappointing Big Bash, carried his good form into Yorkshire’s pre-season tour of Dubai, where they had two two-day games against Gloucestershire, the side they face in their April 14 Championship opener at Bristol.

He made 115 not out in the first game and Gibson was pleased with how he applied himself on a tired pitch in the second.

Brook averaged a respectable 37.95 in last season’s Championship, with two centuries.

Fisher has always been seen as an exciting talent at Headingley, having become the youngest post-war county cricketer when he made his one-day debut aged 15 years and 212 days in June 2013. Two years later he became the White Rose county’s sixth-youngest Championship debutant when, at 17 years and 161 days.

Regular injuries, including three hamstring tears, have stunted his development without damaging his reputation within the game, and he spoke to Gibson before the second Test for some inside information about bowling in the Caribbean.

If Brook and Fisher have moved “upstairs”, Gibson could be said to be going in the opposite direction, leaving international cricket to join the first-class game, albeit at one of its most famous clubs at a time of intense scrutiny.

Although he played county cricket for Glamorgan, Leicestershire and Durham, the 52-year-old has never coached in it. He has mainly worked at international level as head coach of West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh, plus two spells as England’s bowling coach.

“I guess in an ideal world, when you look at how the coaching cycle works, you finish playing county cricket and then become a county coach, starting your education there,” he reflected. “Then you go to international cricket and maybe even come back to county cricket afterwards.

“But I was lucky in a sense that when I finish playing county cricket, I went straight to international cricket in 2007 with England. From 2007 to now, I have been on the road constantly.

“The last two years with Covid hasn’t helped, with the amount of time you have to spend in bubbles and quarantine. So I was looking for an opportunity to get off the road and be closer to home.

“I live in Chester-le-Street so when the opportunity came to coach Yorkshire, which is just down the road, I thought about it seriously and had some conversations with my family. We felt, why not?

“Also, Yorkshire are one of the best clubs in the country – if not the best – in terms of being successful and having a fantastic stadium.

“So to able to get up in the morning, drive down and work at Headingley, which is one of the great stadiums in the world, is a great thing for myself now.”

England report: Page 5