Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England’s Cricket World Cup squad?


Harry Brook not currently in England’s Cricket World Cup squad – but Kevin Pietersen thinks he will be in the XI for tournament opener against New Zealand after 41-ball ton in The Hundred; Ben Stokes’ return, Dawid Malan’s form and a need for pace options sees Brook miss out on initial 15

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

As Harry Brook was thumping fours and sixes for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred en route to a 41-ball century, his omission from England’s World Cup squad began to look rather folly.

Kevin Pietersen was “flabbergasted” the Yorkshireman did not make England’s provisional 15 when that announcement was made last week – Brook edged out by the now unretired Ben Stokes.

After Brook’s fireworks against Welsh Fire on Tuesday night, KP took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say the batter would be in his country’s XI for the World Cup opener against New Zealand on October 5.

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

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There is still a chance of that, of course, not only if only injuries strike but also because England do not need to confirm their final World Cup squad until September 28.

England's provisional World Cup squad

    Jos Buttler (captain) Moeen Ali Gus Atkinson Jonny Bairstow Sam Curran Liam Livingstone Dawid Malan Adil Rashid Joe Root Jason Roy Ben Stokes Reece Topley David Willey Mark Wood Chris Woakes

Let’s look, though, at why Brook was omitted from the initial 15…

Ben Stokes

The Test captain’s decision to end his one-day international retirement means Brook has been pushed out, with Stokes set to join Joe Root, skipper Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone in England’s middle order, behind openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.

Livingstone’s ability to bowl – the Lancashire man sends down off-spin and leg-spin – has seen him earn the nod over fellow big-hitter Brook, with Dawid Malan the back-up batter in the squad.

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

Stuart Broad added on Sky Sports News: “If you had asked me a couple of months ago whether I saw an England side – Test, ODI, T20 – without Brook in it I would have said no. He is such a brilliant player and will be fantastic in the future but ultimately Stokes is a born match-winner and must come back in.”

Brook says he cannot grumble about being dropped for Stokes, who helped England win the 2019 World Cup and 2022 T20 World Cup with crucial innings in both finals: “[He] is one of the best players to ever play cricket, so I can’t really complain, can I?

“Obviously it’s disappointing but I can’t do anything about it now. You’ve just got to move on. I’m trying not to think about it anymore.”

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

Dawid Malan

Whatever Malan achieves in an England shirt – and he has achieved a fair bit – his place always seems up for debate. Even when he was ranked No 1 in the world in T20Is, he was often accused of batting too slowly and his inclusion ahead of Brook for the ODI World Cup has raised a few eyebrows.

There is logic to it, though. Firstly, Malan offers cover for the opening positions and No 3, whereas Brook is viewed as a middle-order option, an area in which England are stacked. Not just with the players we have mentioned but also all-rounders Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, who could be elevated if required.

Secondly, Malan has been in excellent form in ODI cricket over the last year, racking up four hundreds in 12 innings in four different countries (Netherlands, Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh).

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

England have also packed their squad with pace-bowling options, another reason Brook has been squeezed out.

National selector Luke Wright said: “We feel we need a couple of extra seamers, with the natural way of seamers getting injured, and the guys in the squad do have an injury record. It’s more likely a few bowlers go down, so we’re having to cover ourselves seam-wise.”

Brook’s international white-ball form

Brook has made a sensational start to his Test career – 1,181 runs in 12 games, average of 62.15 and staggering strike-rate of 91.76, four hundreds and seven fifties – but he has been less effective in white-ball cricket across 20 T20 internationals and three ODIs.

The 24-year-old averaged 11.20 with a highest score of 20 during last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, while his ODI 80 against South Africa earlier this year was sandwiched by scores of nought and six. He also rarely plays 50-over cricket domestically as the Metro Bank One-Day Cup runs simultaneously with The Hundred during August.

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

Brook said: “I haven’t had much opportunity to play one-day cricket, whether that be for Yorkshire or England. Although I’ve played a lot of T20 cricket, I don’t know if I’ve done as well as I have in the past in the last six months, so that might have had an effect.”

What next for Brook?

The likelihood is that he heads to India anyway as one of three travelling reserves and would therefore be ready to come into the squad in case of any injuries – but he will still think he has a chance of gatecrashing the chosen 15.

Brook is in the T20 squad for the four-match series against New Zealand starting next week and could also play in the three-match ODI series against Ireland in September, which concludes two days before England must name their final World Cup squad.

Harry Brook hits 41-ball century, so why is he not in England's Cricket World Cup squad?

If he continues his form from The Hundred – 238 runs in seven innings at a strike-rate approaching 200 – and Malan continues his – 28 runs in four innings at a strike-rate below 88 – England may consider making a switch.

For while England are loyal, they are also ruthless. We saw that when David Willey was jettisoned for Jofra Archer ahead of the 2019 World Cup and then when Liam Plunkett, so instrumental in that triumph four years ago, was moved after Eoin Morgan’s team, as they were then, lifted the trophy.

Brook is on the outside looking in for now – but Pietersen’s belief that he will be in the team against New Zealand on October 5 could yet come true.

England’s upcoming fixtures

Twenty20 international series vs New Zealand

Wednesday August 30 – Seat Unique Riverside, Durham (6pm)

Friday September 1 – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester (6pm)

Sunday September 3 – Edgbaston, Birmingham (2.30pm)

Thursday September 5 – Trent Bridge, Nottingham (6pm)

ODI series vs New Zealand

Friday September 8 – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (12.30pm)

Sunday September 10 – The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (11am)

Wednesday September 13 – The Kia Oval, London (12.30pm)

Friday September 15 – Lord’s, London (12.30pm)

ODI series vs Ireland

Wednesday September 20 – Headingley, Leeds (12.30pm)

Saturday September 23 – Trent Bridge, Nottingham (11am)

Tuesday September 26 – Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol (12.30pm)

ICC 50-over Cricket World Cup

Thursday October 5 – vs New Zealand, Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (9.30am)

Tuesday October 10 – vs Bangladesh, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala (9.30am)

Sunday October 15 – vs Afghanistan, Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi (9.30am)

Saturday October 21 vs South Africa, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (9.30am)

Thursday October 26 – vs Sri Lanka, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore (9.30am)

Sunday October 29 – vs India, BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow (8.30am)

Saturday November 4 – vs Australia, Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (8.30am)

Wednesday November 8 – vs Netherlands, Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gahunje (8.30am)

Saturday November 11 – vs Pakistan, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (8.30am)

Watch England’s white-ball fixtures against New Zealand and Ireland, and then the World Cup in India, live on Sky Sports.

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