Ottis Gibson believes Harry Brook will bounce back from a challenging first year in the Indian Premier League after being sold to Delhi Capitals in today’s auction, while the Yorkshire coach has also revealed Joe Root’s intention to play early season county cricket next year after opting against returning to the same competition.
Brook was released back into the auction by Sunrisers Hyderabad after the Yorkshire star scored 190 runs in 11 innings earlier this year, including an unbeaten 100.
The 24-year-old batted in four different positions during the campaign through April and May; four times at five, five opening the batting and once apiece at four and six.
Brook’s most recognised position is at number five in the order. That is where he has been batting most recently for England across all three formats of the game, including in the ongoing T20 series in the West Indies.
On Saturday, he smashed a stunning 31 not out off only seven balls as England chased down 223 to win in Grenada. England needed 21 off the last over to win, and Brook hit them all.
Root, meanwhile, opted against returning to Rajasthan Royals for a second IPL campaign and has instead told Gibson that he intends to start his 2024 summer in Yorkshire colours. It is now about finding out from the ECB how many LV= Insurance County Championship fixtures he will be available for in April and May.
Gibson said: “Brooky made a hundred last year, but he was never in the right position in the order, I don’t think.
“That first season was a challenge for him, but since he’s come back from the IPL he’s done very well for England aside from a challenging World Cup when he was in and out of that team.
“He got runs in one game (66 against Afghanistan) and then was dropped two games later.
“The last 12 months hasn’t all been easy for him, but he’s a class player. You saw what he did at the back end against the West Indies at the weekend.
“He’s a very talented player, but he needs to be settled into a position. From there, he can go and win you games.”
Brook will work under Delhi coach Ricky Ponting at next year’s IPL, which also sees Jonny Bairstow return to Punjab Kings.
“They haven’t seen them best of Brooky yet at the IPL. Hopefully that will happen for him next year,” continued Gibson.
“When you saw him for us in a fixed position at number five in both formats the season before last, he got loads of runs.
“When they pick him up in the IPL, they need to do so with an understanding of, ‘This is where you’re going to bat and this is what we expect from you’.
“If that’s clear to him, I’m sure he will go on and shine.
“I don’t think they’ll have bought him without a clear idea of what they expect from him.
“I think Ponting will have seen the disruption he faced in the last IPL around where he batted and think, ‘We’re going to put him there and leave him there, and hopefully he produces the goods for us’.
“I’m quite sure that he will.”
As for Root, his first England commitment of the home summer is likely to be the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s on July 10. He is currently out of England’s T20 plans, and they have the World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA through June.
“I had a chat on text with Rooty when he announced that he wasn’t going back to the IPL. He’s told me that he wants to play for us during the first half of the season,” said Gibson, giving Yorkshire fans news of an early Christmas present.
“That’s the thing I love about Rooty. When he’s available, he wants to be around us.
“The thing now is about trying to get an idea from the ECB as to how much he will be available.
“We have seven Championship games in eight weeks at the start of the season. If Rooty could play at least four of those, that would be absolutely tremendous. Amazing.
“But I don’t know if that will happen.
“Rooty is looking forward to playing some games, but there’s no number on it yet.
“I’ve said all along that when you look at our squad, especially with Dawid Malan not playing four-day cricket anymore, what we need is a senior batter in our middle order.
“That could be a local batter or an overseas. Rooty gives us that seniority at number four.
“The problem would come if he is only available for one or two games. That would leave us needing somebody else from overseas.
“Myself and Goughie are speaking about it all the time. We have conversations every week.”
Adil Rashid has so far gone unsold in the ongoing auction, while former Yorkshire batter Tom Kohler-Cadmore was sold to Rajasthan Royals, where he will play his first IPL campaign alongside England white ball captain Jos Buttler.