JOE ROOT believes that the future of Yorkshire’s batting is in safe hands in the form of talented teenager Harry Brook.
The England Test captain has been highly impressed with the 19-year-old right-hander, who has become a regular in Yorkshire’s Championship team.
It’s an exciting time for Yorkshire, an exciting time for Harry, and he’s got to play now and keep doing his thing and, hopefully, get some really big runs.Joe Root
Yorkshire return to Championship action today when they take on Surrey at Scarborough, and Root has given a big thumbs-up to the blossoming Brook, who hit a brace of half-centuries in last week’s game against Hampshire at Southampton.
“I think that he’s exciting; he’s an exciting prospect,” said Root, who is currently back on international limited overs duty with England.
“He’s not played a lot of cricket yet, and playing a full season will definitely do him the world of good.
“He played a really great knock in the match against Essex recently (scoring 124 at Chelmsford in a match in which Root took part), and he’s got to build on his form and keep backing it up.
“If he can, then it will be a really good sign for Yorkshire and for him as well to hopefully start a promising career.”
The highest compliment that one could pay Brook when he made his century at Chelmsford was that he lost nothing against Root by way of comparison.
Although it would be a cliche to say that, at times, it was difficult to tell Test captain and rookie apart, it would not be entirely stretching the bounds of accuracy.
Lithe and fluent, Brook is not dissimilar to Root, perhaps, in the way that he holds himself at the crease and goes about his business.
But asked whether he sees shades of himself in Brook when he was the same age, Root laughed and said: “He’s probably a little bit more dynamic than I was when I was his age.
“He certainly played some impressive shots in his innings down at Chelmsford, especially against spin. I thought that he played (Simon) Harmer really well; he didn’t play him on reputation at all.
“He backed his game and took him on, and he looks like he’s got a really good all-round game.
“It’s an exciting time for Yorkshire, an exciting time for Harry, and he’s got to play now and keep doing his thing and, hopefully, get some really big runs.”
One of the most striking things about Brook is his confidence and composure.
Like Root himself as he rose to the top of the game, he does not seem fazed or out of place and takes every challenge in his stride.
Such attributes can only serve him well in county cricket and also in his long-term objective of following Root into the England Test team.
“He’s a very relaxed character for such a young man,” added Root. He doesn’t seem to get fazed by very much. It’s always nice to see that maturity in a young player, and it augurs well for the future too. He’s certainly a very talented performer.”
Brook goes into today’s match on the back of that fine display down in Southampton.
He scored 79 in the first innings and 68 in the second to help the visitors to a hard-earned draw, Jack Leaning also playing a fine hand with 54 not out as Yorkshire batted out the final day for the loss of just four wickets.
“Our batting has come under a lot of scrutiny recently, but I thought we showed a lot of character and fight,” insisted first-team coach Andrew Gale.
“If we can take some of that form and confidence and start showing it going forwards, put runs on the board like we did in that game, then we’ll always have a chance.
“I thought Harry played well, in particular, and Jack steadied the ship for a couple of hours and led us to the draw.
“We have spoken at length with Jack. We know he’s a good player who can contribute, but we want him to make those real senior player contributions, and that’s exactly what he did.
“He faced a lot of balls and played the situation well. Hopefully, he’ll take a lot of confidence into Scarborough.”
This week’s game was to have seen a meeting between Indian team-mates Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, only for Kohli to pull out of his Surrey contract due to a neck injury suffered while playing in the Indian Premier League.
His place has been taken by South African batsman Theunis de Bruyn, who scored a duck on his debut against Somerset at Guildford.
Surrey thrashed Somerset by an innings and 69 runs to go 13 points clear at the top of the table.
With former Yorkshire fast bowler Morne Morkel in their ranks, it promises to be another tough challenge for the fifth-placed White Rose, who are 46 points behind the leaders, at North Marine Road.