Harry Brook hoping to beat dad’s highest score after latest England heroics in New Zealand
A fourth England hundred, more runs after nine innings than anyone else in Test history, and all Harry Brook can think about is beating his dad.
Brook’s unbeaten 184 on the first day in Wellington was a phenomenal display of batting from a player England fans have only known for a few months.
The statistics and records he is breaking sees his name listed alongside those that are either instantly recognisable as some of the best to ever do it, or seemingly fictional characters from the 1800s, but as he goes to bed with the potential for a maiden Test match double-ton on the cards, there is only one name whose record he is focused on.
“My dad’s highest score is 210,” Brook said at the close of play. “And my highest score is 194, so that’s in the back of my mind at the minute. I’m sure he’ll be messaging me tonight, reminding me.”
Playing for Burley Cricket Club in 2001, Brook’s dad, David, struck a league record double-ton featuring 29 fours and seven sixes. A match report from the time noted that players from the neighbouring Grange Park Bowling Club were forced to move their cars in order to escape any potential damage as - in what is seemingly a Brook family tradition - David rained sixes down on the local area.
It is a running theme with Brook that he puts family first. He is particularly close with his grandmother Pauline, who rose to fame within the world of cricket journalism just over a year ago when she planted a kiss on David Gower as she picked up the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year award on Brook’s behalf.
A constant presence for Brook, any and all awards, bar the bottle of champagne he received for winning man of the match in the last Test, are forwarded on to her and the pair were together when Brook was bought for £1.3million in the IPL auction in December.
“I don’t really know how to react,” Brook said at the time. “I’m pretty much at a loss for words. I was out for breakfast with my family and my grandma started crying.”
On Friday, Brook shared a staggering and unbeaten 294-run partnership with Joe Root, a player he has known for years and dismissed as a net bowler back when he was 14. A memory that, again, brought a familial response.
“My grandma was sat in the car watching,” Brook reminisced. “I bowled little gentle inswingers and I sneaked one through him.”
“He keeps bringing it up,” Root moaned only last week at Mount Maunganui. “He came in as a net bowler at Headingley, he got me out and he just continually talks about it. It’s so annoying.
“I’ve seen him go from a little boy to a man, and now almost bullying Test attacks. It’s extraordinary.”
Brook’s innings on Friday was remarkable. Arriving at the crease with England in the mire at 21 for three, he played a different game to Root at the other end and a different sport to his already departed team-mates.
Where Root’s fifty came in 122 balls, Brook’s century arrived in 107. He powered Daryl Mitchell for consecutive sixes over long-off in the afternoon and then ramped the same bowler for six more in the evening. It was sublime batting from a player who is behind only Sunil Gavaskar and Don Bradman for number of runs scored in their first six Test matches.
“Definitely,” Brook replied as to whether Friday’s innings was his best in an England shirt. “Just the situation of the game more than anything. We lost three early wickets which wasn’t ideal but I came out and tried to counter-punch and be as positive as I could be and thankfully it came off.
“I actually don't look at the wicket until I get out there, I don’t really like having any preconceived ideas before I go out so yeah, there was a bit of seam but it was more bounce really than anything. But yeah you combine those two things together and it feels a lot quicker and feels like it’s doing more.”
And as to how he’d celebrate yet another record-breaking day in an England shirt?
“FaceTime my girlfriend, FaceTime my family. That’s about it really, I’m pretty tired.”