Ben Stokes had only recently broken the record for Test sixes when he told previous holder Brendon McCullum that Harry Brook would soon break it. Joe Root’s admiration for Brook’s “extraordinary” way of “almost forcing Test attacks” smacked of jealousy. At Mount Maunganui, two modern Test greats were swarming within 24 hours of a young man who was to make their mark.
Mark Wood said earlier this winter, during the Pakistan T20I series in September and October, that he saw a bit of AB de Villiers at Brook. Back in the summer of 2022, when Stokes actively decided against selecting Harry Brook, he somehow managed to make him big. He did so well that he almost broke the captain’s promise to trust a lineup that had won five of the last six Tests.
English cricket has never been kind to the public. And we are not talking about the kind of praise Stokes and Root received early in their careers, when they were still finding their feet among illustrious teammates. This was real, high-profile NBA hype, the kind you get when a rookie becomes the linchpin of a franchise in his first year. Other countries would trade their mothers to get it.
The sigh of “that boy, man” that rings out with every shot Harry Brook takes. The quiet disbelief you feel when you see someone who looks so commanding so early in his journey. The reactions he evokes in the stands and on the turf: he holds their attention, he gets them roaring while remaining calm, like a DJ, who becomes a firecracker, and then the palpable disappointment when he finally leaves. Even the similarities to Kevin Pietersen are so striking that you have to wonder what the man himself thinks. Pietersen was a singular genius. And yet this boy struts around, picking lengths and hitting b
Only this hype has changed in recent months. It’s no longer just a squishy concept, and it now feels like we’re doing some kind of due diligence by promising so much in its name. Brook is already exceeding expectations.
“I think he’s going to be a global superstar,” Stokes said after England’s win at Mount Maunganui, where Brook boosted England’s batting pace with 89 and 54 and was named player of the match for the third straight year. The England captain is usually the one asking the media to ease up on the pressure. At this moment, he seems to think it’s all just fact.
“You can tell if a player has what it takes, but you never know if they’re going to be successful,” Root said. “If you throw them into the unknown, can they handle the pressure and everything else? It was a pleasure to watch him come in here and play the way he did
Brook has now scored six runs of fifty or more in his first eight innings, for a total of 623 runs at an average of 87.71. Only five players have scored more runs on as many hits, which is remarkable in itself, especially considering that Brook’s game ultimately comes with a trade-off: he can leave runs out in the middle by taking more risks for the good of the team.
The fact that he has scored three hundreds in six innings, while only one man (Mohammad Azharuddin) has done so in fewer innings, shows that he strikes an incredible balance. However, it’s worth noting that this is a unique balance.
Looking at the statistics after just five Tests, he has taken 643 knocks for his 623 runs, which equates to a batting rate of 96.9 and puts him in the far corner of the chart as an outlier. Only Adam Gilchrist (440 at 81.8) and David Warner (383 at 85.5) have a similar record.
Incidentally, none of this is a fluke, even if you discount the weaker passing attacks. Brook has regularly participated in a regimen of volunteer training sessions. With not much to do in Pakistan, he was frequently at the gym, working diligently on a strength program to help him increase his weight.
This winter, his quest for self-improvement manifested itself in other ways. During the T20 World Cup, he greeted his batting coach, Mike Hussey, at the start of each training session and asked him what he should work on. Brook felt that the legendary Australian knew much more about his craft than he did. “What else can I add to my game?” was the overarching theme of their meetings.
He consulted with Martin Speight, his old cricket coach at Sedbergh who is now his mentor, after playing spinner Abrar Ahmed badly off the pitch in the first innings at Multan. Harry Brook scored 108 runs in the second innings after quickly figuring out what had gone wrong.
Amazingly, even in the middle of the field, he seems to be constantly evaluating, analysing and improving his game. Often to the amusement of his partner on the other end of the line.
“You should hear the conversations he has out there,” Root said. “He’s spraying himself … not to calm himself down, but to get it out of his system before he plays the next ball
Root sees this as a positive sign. A sign of “inner confidence” rather than an overburdened soul flagellating himself. “That’s a big reason why he’s going to be successful for a long time.”
When a player makes a spectacular appearance, people often expect him to stumble. For example, when the Australian fast attack comes at him with short balls. Harry Brook could improve in this area, but only relative to the quality of the rest of his game. Nobody is perfect, and only about three people in the world can play the short ball well.
There will be a regression to a Brook-specific standard that is still greater than most. But with each step forward, that regression seems further and further away. Aside from the mental and technical distractions that come with increasing numbers of short passing players, Harry Brook has a focus and approach that suggests he’ll be far more durable than most.
Maybe that sounds a little too optimistic. In any case, it’s hard to deny that the sport of cricket, and not just English cricket, has plenty of talent to enjoy for a long time to come.
1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy
On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.
Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs
Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.
Sachin Tendulkar with god of cricket Virat Kohli pic.twitter.com/zmztejNBBB— Kevin (@imkevin149) November 2, 2023
An Unforgettable Journey
In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.
Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.
Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets
Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.
A Landmark Moment
In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.
Surpassing Preceding Records
Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Legacy of Excellence
Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.
Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
A Testament to Talent and Dedication
Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.
ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.
India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation
In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.
India’s Path to World Cup Glory
Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.
Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism
Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.
Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli
Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.
In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.
In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.