The story of Harry Brook who broke Ranjisinhji’s 125 year old record

Three hundred in three tests in Pakistan. Harry Brook has broken a 125 year old English record held by KS Ranjitsinhji for most runs in the first 6 Test innings for England. Ranjit ji had 418, Brook was threatening to go past 500 in the third test in Karachi. Incidentally, Vinod Kambli holds the record with 669 runs.

When he impressed in the T20 World Cup with light-hearted cameos, his youth coach David Cooper told this newspaper to see him in the Tests. He was right.

It was a sight in the rain when Harry was about 14 that convinced Cooper that his boy was made out of something special. Harry was talented, but rumor then spread that he was unfit and rumor would reach his ears that unless he did something about it and improved his fielding game, county cricket would prove elusive.

“On a dark, wet October day, I peeked over the gate into the club and what did I see? Young Harry runs on the floor, completes his rounds with push-ups and stuff, then runs again. For a month, in that wet month, he did his things. Tell me, how many 14-year-olds would do that?” asks Cooper rhetorically.

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If you need a piece of real estate to capture Harry Brook’s story, we can pick two places: his backyard that faces his club and a small bench on his Burley-in-Wharfedale Cricket Club grounds.

A Brook T-shirt often hangs to dry in the garden. Shirt number 88, hanging upside down from Yorkshire, Lahore Qalandars, Northern Superchargers, Hobart Hurricanes.

The bench was built by his late grandfather Tony, a club player, a wood maker, who had his sons David, Richard and Nick all play for the club. David is Harry’s father and it was Tony, says Cooper, who brought young Harry to the club and would throw him down for hours. Tuk, tuk, tuk…

‘Nowadays when he comes to the club to watch cricket, Harry sits on that bench. It somehow feels healthy, sweet, if you know what I mean,” says Cooper.

The first time Cooper saw Harry with a cricket bat was when the child was 2 or 3. “He was holding it with his bottom hand on top of the handle! But he’d hook it up right; had great eye-hand coordination. But he was pretty stubborn and won’t change it until his grandfather gently persuaded him,” Cooper laughs.

Around the time he lost his plump weight, slogging hard in the rain, he would get a scholarship to the prestigious private school Sedhburg which spawned rugby Internationals and was developing a reputation for cricketers. “It was an important moment in his life. If he hadn’t gone there, he might have been like other kids who practice on weekends and play a little bit in the evening. But the school encouraged talented athletes and he played a lot cricket,” says Cooper.

Cooper says Harry would run into former Durham and Sussex wicketkeeper Martin Speight at the school and improve his batting. “Speight started his cricket nets quite early around 6am, but Harry was always there every morning.” Speight would be touched to tell hockey coach Mark Shopland that if he ever bets on a kid playing for England he should place it on Harry. Shopland apparently put Harry 100 pounds on 100-1. It was on Speight’s advice that after a sub-par county season in 2019/20, Brook added a trigger move to the crease that lifted his averages above 50.

In the series in Pakistan just before the World Cup, Brook played with some good shots, culminating in a 35-ball 81. Mark Wood would compare him to AB de Villiers to the press and later tell Brook not to abandon him after that comparison. “I loved watching him bat, but I want to be the best Harry Brook. I don’t want to be someone else,” he told The Telegraph. “I want to do the best I can and play the way I want to.”

Ironically, the batsman making a name for himself in T20 cricket loves ‘the perfect forward defensive’ shot.

Cooper said he laughed when he heard Harry say that in a recent interview. “I remember once telling him that in order to grow as a cricketer and make a name for himself against harder bowling attacks, he needed a good, solid forward defence. And we would stand there next to the club nets for hours brushing up on his forward defence. That’s what I was taught when I was young,” says Cooper, who once deflected an attack led by India’s Madan Lal for one hundred and fifty for the club with 11 fours and 4 sixes. “This was a week after Madan Lal bowled England out for about £120!”

In his Betway column, Kevin Pietersen would write in September: “He is the future, in my opinion. He has all the shots and can play in so many different conditions. Keeps it very simple, but the way he hits makes it difficult. People who can pull you off the top of the stumps are hard work because obviously that’s where you’re trying to throw it. And he knows his game, so because he’s in the middle, he’ll make sure he’s in at the end, and then he goes, and because he’s ramping up, you have to have a good leg back, so you’re effectively playing with four fielders because then he doesn’t play it, and he hits it wide, so he’s very hard work, and I’ll keep telling him that until he stops.

Nasser Hussain has also been a vocal supporter. “Harry Brook is just going to be a superstar in all formats, really. His run-getting over the last few years in Yorkshire has been productive and I believe will continue to be so.

Cooper doesn’t need to be convinced, of course. For a man who first saw Harry hit when he was 2 and has been following his career for years, he is already over the moon with Harry’s World Cup performance.

“So good… a lot of people wouldn’t expect to win the World Cup at 23,” Brook said at the end of the World Cup. “There is much more. As KP ​​and Nasser have said, the cricket world will see him shine in Tests. He certainly started out as a runaway train.

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