When you compare the early stages of Jack Brooks’s career with that of his former Leeds housemate, Liam Plunkett, it is like chalk and cheese. But the fast bowler has done his best to make up for lost time with Northamptonshire, England Lions and now Yorkshire, for whom he has won two Championship titles.
While Plunkett was playing Test cricket at the age of 20, Brooks, famed for wearing headbands, was still on the village greens of Oxfordshire at the same age.
He has since taken every step up in his stride, and had been a Yorkshire target for a couple of years before putting pen to paper on a contract at Headingley in September of 2012 after opting to leave Wantage Road.
Brooks played Second XI cricket for Surrey and Minor Counties cricket for Oxfordshire, but got his big break with Northants when he impressed in a net trial in 2008.
He made his first-class debut in 2009 against the touring Australians, and has gone on to feature for the Lions, most recently in January 2015 on their tour of South Africa.
The return of Brooks to that set up came about after a stunning 2014 summer, in which he took 68 Championship wickets in the way to Yorkshire’s title, the second best haul by any bowler in Division One.
He toured South Africa alongside, yes – you guessed it, his big mate Plunkett.
An aggressive bowler who bowls ‘a heavy ball’, Brooks has a first-class career best analysis of 5-23 under his belt. He was even mentored by Australian legend Dennis Lillee at a bowling camp in India during the early stages of 2011.
The early part of his first season with Yorkshire was blighted by a broken hand, but he still returned some memorable performances in 2013, particularly in the Championship and Twenty20.
2004 – Made his Minor Counties debut for home county Oxfordshire against Wales Minor Counties.
2008 – Played twice for Surrey seconds in May, took five wickets for Oxfordshire in July and snared 6-99 in the second innings of his debut for Northants seconds against Warwickshire ten days later having impressed for them during trials.
2009 – Made his first-class bow against a strong Australian side in July, and his maiden wickets were those of all-rounders Andrew McDonald and Mitchell Johnson in the same over. Debuted in the Championship less than a month later, taking 4-76 in the first innings of a win against Derbyshire.
2010 – Scored his only first-class fifty to date during the second Championship match of the season against Gloucestershire in April. He claimed 37 first-class wickets in the summer before travelling to Chennai to work with Dennis Lillee. It was a trip funded by the Northants Supporters Club, who raised £1,000.
2011 – A haul of 43 first-class wickets, including a career best 5-23 against Leicestershire in June, earned him a place on the England Performance Programme camp later in the year.
2012 – Took 14 wickets in eleven matches for the England Lions on their tours of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the UAE in January and February, but injury restricted him to only 29 wickets during his last season with Northants. Attracted interest from a whole host of counties when he activated a release clause in his contract at Wantage Road, but chose Yorkshire.
2013 – Took 34 Championship wickets in his debut season with Yorkshire, including 5-40 in his second match against Derbyshire at Headingley. Followed that up with 4-22 in the second innings of a draw against Somerset, nearly snatching a victory from nowhere. But mid-spell, he was struck on the hand and ruled out for six weeks. Returned to the side to become only the second Yorkshire bowler to ever take five wickets in a Twenty20 match – 5-21 in a home win over Leicestershire in July. Presented with his Yorkshire cap in early August.
2014 – Brooks led Yorkshire’s bowling attack in exceptional fashion on the way to county cricket’s ultimate prize. He passed 50 Championship wickets for the first time in his career, including two five-wicket hauls. He was named in the PCA’s Team of the Year and was rewarded with calls to the winter England Performance Programme and Lions squads.
2015 – Another 50 plus-wicket season in the Championship followed, as did a second Championship title. He has Yorkshire’s leading wicket-taker for the second year running. Brooks also scored his second and third first-class fifties in 2015 – one for the Lions in South Africa and another against Middlesex at Lord’s, the title-clinching week.
NameJack A Brooks
Born4th June 1984
RoleRight Hand Bat//Right Arm Medium Fast Bowler
County DebutYorkshire v Leeds Bradford UCCE, 5th April 2013
First ClassNorthamptonshire v Australians, 24th July 2009