We are seeing something we’ve never seen before in Test cricket.
At the tender age of 24, Harry Brook is changing the game.
Not simply in the way of platitudes, but categorically in the way that we will reassess how we teach kids to bat.
Brook spent the first day’s play at the Basin Reserve putting the Kiwis to the sword in an unbeaten 294-run stand to drive England to 3-315 at stumps, with New Zealand’s bowlers copping a beating to all parts of the ground after electing to bowl on a green top.
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Brook’s maiden double century however was not to be, spooning a drive back to Matt Henry early on day two, as Joe Root would anchor England’s eventual 8/435 declared with a masterful 153 not out.
Joe Root, an established legend of English cricket with 10,700 Test runs to his name, has called him “extraordinary”.
Root, himself known as a diligent student of the game, was in awe at Brook’s cricket mind, saying he “sprays himself out in the middle.”
“Not in a way that gets him down, more getting it out of his system before facing the next ball.”
The hype around Brook was out of hand a long time ago, and somehow the Yorkshireman has lived up to it.
He’s broken all manner of records, becoming the most prolific batter in the history of the sport after 9 innings with his 184 not out at the end of day one putting him at the top of lists that include Sir Donald Bradman.
At his current rate, he will smash the record for the quickest man to 1000 Test runs.
This is, as Vitushan Ehantharajah put it, real NBA hype.
“Other nations would trade their mothers to draft him,” he writes.
Test captain Ben Stokes said “he will go on to be a global superstar,” after Brook’s player of the match performance in the first Test in Mount Maunganui, and that was without Brook even reaching triple figures.
Brook’s secret to his insane run scoring feats might actually lie Down Under, in the heart of enemy territory.
Brook spent the 2018/19 season as a young English professional in the cauldron of Sydney grade cricket, playing for the University of New South Wales after a disappointing County Championship where he averaged 25 for Yorkshire.
Brook scored over 1000 runs that summer at an average of 50.5 in all forms.
He returned in 2020 to announce himself in the T20 Blast, averaging 55 and striking at 163 despite batting in the middle order.
Since then, his pure ball-striking has seen him rocket into Test contention, becoming England men’s Test cap 707 after plundering 967 runs at 107.44 in the County Championship last year.
Sydney based batting coach Darius Visser worked with Brook during his stint in Sydney in 2018/19 and was blown away by Brook.
“With Brooky, it was never (a question of) if he would play Test cricket, it was when he would play Test cricket,” Visser said.
“He could (play every shot in the book) very well,” he said.
“Completely natural, natural talent but zero head noise.
“Athletes perform the best when they’re not thinking about the skill they’re trying to perform – he just watched and hit the ball.