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Michael Atherton says Harry Brook should play for England in first Test ahead of Jonny Bairstow

Michael Atherton

Cricket Expert & Columnist

Michael Atherton on Harry Brook: “When you pick a young player is so important and he will never be in better form, never be more confident. I’d have to pick him” – watch England vs New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday

Last Updated: 28/05/22 12:23am


Michael Atherton believes in-form batsman Harry Brook presents a real selection dilemma for England ahead of the first Test against New Zealand

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Michael Atherton believes in-form batsman Harry Brook presents a real selection dilemma for England ahead of the first Test against New Zealand

Michael Atherton believes in-form batsman Harry Brook presents a real selection dilemma for England ahead of the first Test against New Zealand

Michael Atherton believes Harry Brook should make his Test debut against New Zealand next week, saying the Yorkshire batter “will never be in better form”.

Brook has passed fifty in 10 of his 11 innings across all competitions so far this season – eight times in the County Championship, where he is averaging 140, and twice in two games in the Vitality Blast.

The 23-year-old looks unlikely to make his Test bow at Lord’s with new captain Ben Stokes and former skipper Joe Root set to be joined in the middle order by Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow.

But Sky Sports pundit and former England captain Atherton says he would select Brook – ahead of Yorkshire team-mate Bairstow – in the No 5 spot.

Brook says he's happy with how he's playing this year after another impressive innings for Yorkshire

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Brook says he’s happy with how he’s playing this year after another impressive innings for Yorkshire

Brook says he’s happy with how he’s playing this year after another impressive innings for Yorkshire

After watching Brook hit 72 from 48 balls against Lancashire in the tied Roses clash in the Blast, Atherton “I’d have to pick him ahead of Bairstow at No 5, just because of the form he is in. His first-class form has been exceptional.

“When you pick a young player is so important and he will never be in better form than this, never be more confident than this. He may go off the boil at some stage and then if you put him in the team it might be slightly unfortunate.

“Bairstow was the success story of the winter. He has been away in the IPL but in the Test stuff before that he had two hundreds, one in the West Indies and another at the end of the Ashes.

Joe Root has been impressed by Brook's calmness during his run-laden start to the county season

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Joe Root has been impressed by Brook’s calmness during his run-laden start to the county season

Joe Root has been impressed by Brook’s calmness during his run-laden start to the county season

“It’s not absolutely straightforward and the slight conundrum has been created by the fact Stokes has said Root will go back to No 4 and they want Pope to have a dash at No 3.

“I don’t think England will slip Brook in that middle order but the temptation must be there – it must be so tempting to play a young man who is in that kind of form.”

When asked what stands out about his Yorkshire team-mate Brook, Root told Sky Sports: “How level he has been. I think that’s a really good trait to have at such a young age.

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“He has got great work ethic and thinks a lot about the game. He loves batting and has made the most of the opportunities he has had.

“He has not got bored or gone away from what has worked for him. If he can stay level, he will be a hell of a player.

Watch the first Test between England and New Zealand, from Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10am on Thursday.



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