Jack Brooks is the sort of player Twenty20 was made for. All action with the ball in his hand, celebrating each wicket as if it were to be his last and with a nickname that fits perfectly to the razzamatazz of the game’s shortest format.
So it is no surprise that the Oxford-born fast bowler is loving life with the new ball in his hand as Yorkshire aim to replicate last season’s impressive run to the Friends Life t20 Finals Day.
Brooks, aged 29, formerly of Northamptonshire and known as the Headband warrior, has excelled in his position as the leader of the Vikings’ attack, so much so that he is the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 11 from four matches, including hauls of four wickets and five wickets.
A bowler who has been in the England Lions ranks in the last 18 months, Brooks spoke prior to the competition about how he loved to set the tone at the top of the innings and even bowl his four overs on the bounce.
That is exactly what he did in the thumping win against Leicestershire at Headingley on Tuesday night when took 5-21.
And ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Durham at Emirates Durham, he said: “It’s what I thrive on. I love taking wickets with the new ball, so I know my role is simple. I don’t try and mix it up too much with slower balls, but it’s a lot easier in T20 when you simplify it. You never know how many overs you’re going to bowl in your first spell, and it might only be one.
“But I’ve been bowled out in a couple of the games now, and it’s going really well. I’ve not bowled much at the death, but my job is to hit the deck hard and try and get some wickets. If I can a few wickets in the first six, then I’ve done my job.”
Tomorrow’s match will see Yorkshire search for only their second win against a side who are bottom of the North Division. It will be the first of six remaining fixtures in the group stages, which also includes a clash with in-form Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday.
Yorkshire may sit fourth in the section with three points and five behind leaders Nottinghamshire, but Brooks has still not ruled out clinching a home quarter-final, never mind just qualification for the last eight.
To do that, the Vikings would either need to finish top of the group or as the best second-placed finisher of the three groups.
“I think every game from now on is a must win,” he said. “You want to try and get a home quarter-final, and we’re going to have to win our remaining games to do that. We’re going to try and win every game, and I’m sure if we’d have won that first game, we probably would have won the last two as well. It’s just the way T20 goes.
“Hopefully we can take the Leicester win forward and chalk up a few more. Everyone can beat everyone in this cricket, and I think Notts are the only team that have started really well. Everyone else is beating each other, so hopefully we can go on a good run now.”
Ironically, Brooks snared his best figures in this format just a match and four days after recording his worst figures, 0-47 against Lancashire when Tom Smith took 24 in an over off him.
And he added: “On Friday night I got whacked out of the ground, and (Leicester) is one of those days that tells you how quickly T20 can change. I enjoyed just playing on Friday in front of that atmosphere. The ball didn’t go my way, but these things can happen.
“The two previous games I bowled quite well and took wickets, so I knew it was just one of those days. It was just unfortunate how it happened in that game. In T20 you’re going to get whacked more often than not, but so far this season I haven’t been. I must be doing something right.”
The Vikings go into the game with the same squad that was selected for the Leicestershire match. The starting line-up will be confirmed just after the toss.
Yorkshire Vikings 13-man squad to face Durham Dynamos, at Chester-le-Street on Friday July 12 (5.30pm start).
If you can’t make it to any of the Friends Life T20 games you can hear ball-by-ball commentary on Yorkshire Radio – Official Media Partner of YCCC with summary from former Yorkshire Captain Anthony McGrath.
You can listen to Yorkshire Radio on DAB across Yorkshire, Sky Channel 0209, on-line atwww.yorkshireradio.netand on free apps for iphone and android smart phones. Plus don’t miss hearing from the squad and management every Monday at 6pm on The Yorkshire Radio Cricket Show.