arry Brook has vowed to carry his “fearless” approach to international cricket into his maiden Ashes series and warned Australian spinner Nathan Lyon that England have him lined up in their sights.
Brook has made a remarkable start to his England career, averaging more than 80 since making his Test debut in the final match of last summer against South Africa.
The batter got his opportunity after Jonny Bairstow suffered a broken leg in a freak golf course accident but after scoring four hundreds in five matches this winter has cemented his place at No5, with Bairstow’s return coming instead at the expense of wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
The 24-year-old is, along with opener Ben Duckett, one of only two players across both sides expected to make their Ashes bows this week, but showed few signs of nerves as he spoke to the press on Wednesday.
“I probably wasn’t thinking I was going to have that start [to my career] but I’d take it every day of the week,” Brook said. “It’s been a whirlwind six months really, the best winter I could have ever asked for and long may it continue.
“I’m looking forward to [the Ashes]. They’re one of the best teams in the world off the back of a World Test Championship win. I’ve always wanted to play against the best players in the world and see how good I really am. I’m looking forward to facing those boys and challenging myself against them and whatever plans they have against me.”
Brook’s rapid rise earned him a lucrative IPL contract at Sunrisers Hyderabad, but the Yorkshireman’s debut campaign did not go to plan, one superb century an anomaly among a series of low scores and a tournament average of 21.
His IPL involvement also means he has not featured at all in the County Championship leading into the Ashes, but Brook insists he has no concerns over his form or preparation.
“It’s a different format, different environment,” he added. “I’ve said plenty of times that this environment’s the best I’ve been in and I’m going to go out there and be fearless.”
On Tuesday, England spinner Moeen Ali said he expected to be targeted by Australia’s batters having returned to the Test set-up two years after his retirement as a replacement for the injured Jack Leach.
Given Moeen’s lack of recent red-ball cricket, Australia would appear to have a strong edge in the spin department, Lyon having excelled with 57 wickets across the last three Ashes series. Brook, however, says he has designs on making life rather more difficult for the 35-year-old.
“If he bowls a good ball then I’m going to respect it,” Brook said. “Other than that, I’m going to try and take him on. He could get a lot of wickets, but hopefully we’re going to hit him for a lot of runs.
“I’d like to think I’m a player who can find gaps and hit different gaps. I try and play all round the wicket. I’ll see whatever field he has. I’m sure they’ll probably start with everybody up and we’ll go from there.”