JACK BROOKS has predicted that the return of ‘The Milkybar Kid’ and the arrival of the new boy in town will help to kick-start Yorkshire’s season.
Yorkshire welcome back England vice-captain Joe Root tomorrow for his first Championship appearance for over 19 months as they prepare to hand a debut to David Willey.
Brooks believes the pair can help inspire Yorkshire to their first win of the season after draws with Hampshire and Warwickshire.
“It’s great to have them available and, hopefully, it will help the team kick on and get that first win,” said pace bowler Brooks.
“It’s nice to have Rooty back because we don’t really see too much of him any more, and, in a way, it’s kind of like having an overseas player come in.
“We know we’re going to get a lot of quality from him, and the same goes for David.
“He’s had to wait to make his Championship debut for us and it ends up being on the TV cameras, so don’t be surprised if he ends up taking a five-for or something special because he’s that sort of box-office player.”
Root replaces Jack Leaning, who made a half-century against Warwickshire last week and a hundred in both Championship matches against Notts last summer.
It was a tough decision for the Yorkshire management, who could just as easily have dropped new one-day captain Alex Lees but perhaps felt it important to try to get his opening partnership with Adam Lyth – so crucial to Yorkshire’s title in 2014 – firing again.
Root is also available for Yorkshire’s subsequent game, against Surrey at Headingley, although pace bowler Ryan Sidebottom is set to miss that game as well as this week’s match with an ankle injury sustained at Edgbaston.
James Wainman, the 23-year-old left-arm seamer, replaces Sidebottom in the squad for Trent Bridge after impressing in the second team, while Tim Bresnan (calf) could be available for the Surrey game to leave only young seamer Matthew Fisher (hamstring) sidelined.
Brooks, who will be striving to step up in Sidebottom’s absence, is licking his lips at this week’s encounter.
“It will be a pretty tasty game and there will be a lot of international-standard cricketers on show, and it’s good that it’s on TV as well to showcase how good the County Championship can be,” he said.
“Hopefully, there’ll be some pretty good cricket played and a decent crowd as well.
“Notts have had two results in their two games and they play an attacking style of cricket, which is positive for us and for the game as well. It should be a cracker.”
Root’s return will add extra spice to a contest that has the look of an old-fashioned Test trial, with both teams brimming with full/representative England experience.
Root has cemented his status as one of the game’s best players since his last Championship appearance against Somerset at Headingley in September, 2014 (two weeks after he lifted the Championship trophy at Trent Bridge after Andrew Gale’s infamous suspension), but he can expect to receive the usual irreverent welcome.
“Rooty will get a bit of stick from the lads, there’s no doubt about that, but he’ll be giving as good as he gets,” laughed Brooks.
“When he came back for a Roses match once, I called him a competition winner as it was the first time we’d seen him for a while.
“He looks about 12 years old, doesn’t he?
“But, in all seriousness, he fits in beautifully with the changing room and he’s Yorkshire through and through and loves playing for the club.”
Brooks is also looking forward to renewing his partnership with former Northants team-mate Willey, who moved from Wantage Road in the close season.
Along with Root, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid, the 26-year-old was part of the England team that did the country proud at the World T20.
“He’s a top player, and it’s good for him to come into the changing room and get that instant respect from everyone,” said Brooks.
“Everyone gets on with him, and I’ve obviously known him for years and we’ve had a bit of a laugh and a crack about the old times.
“We were mates and we roomed together a lot. I think some of the lads are giving us a bit of stick about hearing us talking about the Northants days.”
Brooks said earlier this week that the best is still to come from Yorkshire – a sentiment he also applies to himself.
“I know if I can get it in good areas I can be a match for anyone, but I’ve got to be at my best to do that,” he said.
“I wasn’t at my best last week if I’m completely honest, and I can be quite hard on myself.
“I haven’t got the wickets I’m used to – I’m used to taking wickets and, when I don’t, I question myself a bit, which is only natural.
“I’m sure I’m not too far away as I feel I’ve got my rhythm most of the time, and I just need to be a bit more consistent and show a bit more patience.”