When the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) unveiled their provisional 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023, the absence of Harry Brook, widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the cricketing world, was a glaring omission that sent shockwaves through the cricketing community.
Brook’s exceptional recent performances for England across various formats couldn’t secure him a spot in the squad, as the defending champions opted to include Ben Stokes, who initially retired from the 50-over format, reversed his decision and made a comeback. This choice sparked a diverse range of opinions among passionate cricket fans.
Michael Atherton provides his thoughts on Harry Brook
Now, Michael Atherton, a former cricketer turned commentator, has stepped into the fray and offered his perspective.
During a pre-game discussion ahead of the second T20I between England and New Zealand in Manchester, Atherton was asked about his take on the matter by Nick Knight.
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Atherton asserted that Brook is an indispensable talent, and the idea of a World Cup squad without him seems unthinkable. However, the 55-year-old also acknowledged that Brook appears to have fallen victim to the limited opportunities he’s had in one-day cricket, having been somewhat caught in between Test and franchise cricket.
“Like many people, I was surprised when he was left out. I couldn’t envisage a squad without Harry Brook actually, I think he’s an exceptional talent. Trying to understand the reason England have not picked him, it’s obviously a consequence of [Ben] Stokes’ return and the balance of the side – maybe his IPL form counted against him, he wasn’t particularly good apart from one hundred – and obviously the schedule has counted against him. If you’re an all-format player and you’re playing Test cricket and you’re playing in the IPL and the Hundred, you just don’t play many fifty-over games,” Atherton said.
It’s important to note that Brook has only featured in three ODIs thus far, accumulating 86 runs at an average of 28.66, with a solitary fifty to his name. Nonetheless, his recent red-hot form in T20 cricket, including impressive knocks of 43 not and 67 in the last two matches against New Zealand, has underlined his potential and left cricket enthusiasts wondering about his exclusion from the upcoming multi-national event.
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