CricViz analyst Kieran Parmley takes a look at a fantastic innings from young Englishman Harry Brook.
Harry Brook joined Fakhar Zaman at the crease just 2.4 overs into today’s game, with his side Lahore Qalandars struggling at 12-3 after winning the toss and electing to bat. Brook has slowly been ticking along in the Qalandars middle order, making quickfire cameos while Fakhar has generally taken the plaudits when it came highlighting the star Qalandars batter, but those roles were reversed today. The young Englishman – still under the age of 23 – blasted his maiden T20 century with an unbeaten 102 runs from just 49 balls and in doing so became the youngest England player to score an overseas T20 century after Will Smeed twice threatened that record earlier in the PSL.
Generally a middle order batter by trade, Brook was able to use the situation that presented itself today to his advantage – both the early nature of his arrival to the crease as well as an Islamabad United bowling attack missing Shadab Khan played into his strong, well-rounded game against pace. Brook was quick to show off such skills, rushing to 21*(9) at the end of the Powerplay – a brutal counter attack considering his side were already three wickets down for not many but also somewhat symbolic of the mentality often associated with England’s T20 side, for whom Brook made his debut just a few weeks back.
Throughout the night Islamabad United struggled to contain Harry Brook, with the right-hander making full use of the crease to open up scoring areas. The Englishman’s movement towards the leg side of his crease allowed him to make full use of his off side game – eventually ending up with a tally of 40 runs from 13 balls in the form of both grounded and loften drives, scoring 7 fours and 1 six. Brook has an exceptional record playing the drive against pace across his T20 career, scoring 359 runs at a 211 strike rate with just 4 dismissals – younger players in the shorter format are often ridiculed for being too leg side dominant and lacking the off side game to succeed at the highest level – Brook is certainly one of those younger players who doesn’t fit that stereotype.
Brook’s strength playing driven strokes through the off-side saw the Islamabad United pacers look to adapt and follow him in his crease, going short and into the body – the response was Brook using his quick hands and strong base to pounce on those short deliveries, hooking and pulling them for six – the perfect counter attack to Islamabad United’s counter attack themselves as Brook scored 35 runs from the 13 deliveries pitching shorter than 8 metres today.
Today’s innings was a short insight into the positives we can expect from Harry Brook as a T20 player going forward, a dynamic near 360° pace hitter who can punish missed lengths with ease using an array of strokes – early signs are that the usual go-to tactics of short pitched deliveries and high pace are unlikely to rush him, both were on show today and yet he played with a control percentage of 90% against pace.
Brook himself will be all too aware of the challenges he faces in the future as his status as a player continues to rise, a measly return of 28 runs in 6 innings for Hobart Hurricanes this winter was a brutal introduction to the T20 circuit for a bright young batter who is still developing his game, particularly against spin – where his Average Batting Impact sits at a respectable +0.0.
Brook is a destructive player against off-spin, which is the main reason for his Batting Impact figure against spin reaching parity but he will be looking to improve when it comes to facing bowlers who turn the ball away from him – Brook averages 18 against leg spin with a 126 strike rate and 25 against left-arm orthodox spin with a 93 strike rate – a weakness teams will be all too aware of in the modern game, England and T20 sides throughout the world will be hoping he can find a way to round off his game as the years roll on.