Harry Brook has reignited the debate over his omission from England’s World Cup squad with a stunning century in the Hundred.
The 24-year-old notched an unbeaten 105 off 42 balls, the fastest century in the competition’s history, with his innings made all the more remarkable by the struggles of his teammates. Brook came in after 20 balls with the score reading 10-3, and Northern Superchargers’ next highest score was a mere 15 from Adam Hose.
Brook had four off as many balls when Hose fell, and then took off, hitting 101 off the last 130 runs by himself. That included 18 runs off four Luke Wells deliveries, and 22 runs the last five balls of the innings, bowled by David Payne. The second-last of those was sent for Brook’s seventh six to bring up an outrageous 41-ball century, and though Welsh Fire were able to ease to victory, Brook was named Player of the Match.
The knock was some statement, coming less than a week after England announced Brook was not in their preliminary squad for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The team management opted for a bowling-heavy group, faced with an arduous schedule, and backed Dawid Malan’s versatility in picking him over Brook, reasoning that he could open or bat in the middle order if needed. Brook has played just three ODIs, but has shown his international worth in the other formats. That decision was questioned by some at the time, with Jofra Archer, set to be named alongside Brook in the travelling reserves for the competition, left speechless on air when he learned of the news, and Kevin Pietersen saying he was “flabbergasted”. The clamour has only increased since then.
Pietersen, along with Michael Vaughan, has predicted that Brook will be at the World Cup, with England able to make changes to their squad before a late September cut-off.
My view – Harry Brook will play in England’s first game at the CWC!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) August 23, 2023
Harry Brook is different class .. My guess is he will end up at the World Cup .. #OnOn
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) August 22, 2023
Others also contested England’s selection.
Freakish innings from Harry Brook. There’s no way he’s not one of England’s best seven batters for the WC.
— Yas Rana (@Yas_Wisden) August 22, 2023
Centuries for Harry Brook in the IPL, PSL and now the Hundred.
No-one else has managed that feat.
To be able to leave him out of a World Cup squad says a lot about England’s depth – but in this form is it the right call?
— Henry Moeran (@henrymoeranBBC) August 22, 2023
Of relevance in the conversation is Malan’s form in The Hundred. Brook is now the second leading run-scorer in the competition, but Malan managed just 28 runs in four innings for Trent Rockets before being dropped from the XI.
Only four members of England's provisional 15-man World Cup squad (Buttler, Roy, Root, S Curran) have scored more runs this Hundred season than Harry Brook scored in 42 balls at Headingley tonight
— Matt Roller (@mroller98) August 22, 2023
And to cap off his night, Brook added a stellar, double relay catch on the boundary, to show even if he’s not an all-rounder, he has extra dimensions to his game.
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