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News

Mott drops clearest hint yet Brook will be drafted into World Cup squad

Brook was a surprise omission from squad coach repeatedly describes as "provisional"

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
05-Sep-2023
Harry Brook reverse-sweeps another boundary, England vs New Zealand, 2nd T20I, Old Trafford, September 1, 2023

Harry Brook keeps making his case for selection  •  ECB via Getty Images

England have dropped their clearest hint yet that Harry Brook will be drafted into their World Cup squad. Matthew Mott, their white-ball coach, repeatedly emphasised on Tuesday that the 15-man squad they have submitted to the ICC is "provisional" and that "there's a lot of water under the bridge" before they play New Zealand in Ahmedabad on October 5.
Brook was a surprise omission from the squad selected for England's upcoming four-match ODI series against New Zealand, which doubles as their provisional World Cup squad. He responded with the only century in the men's Hundred days later, and started England's T20I series with scores of 43 not out and 67 - though managed only 8 and 4 in the third and fourth matches.
Mott explained that Brook's initial omission was due to England's "loyalty" to players who have underpinned their ODI side in recent years, but suggested that most teams in the World Cup would consider "tinkering" with their provisional squad before the ICC's firm deadline on September 28.
Brydon Carse, who was drafted into England's ODI squad for the New Zealand series - which starts on Friday in Cardiff - as seam-bowling cover is another bolter who could stake a claim for inclusion in the final 15, having started the T20I series with four wickets in six overs while bowling at high pace.
Jos Buttler, England's limited-overs captain, previously declined the opportunity to rule Brook out of contention, saying during the Hundred: "There's still a long time before everyone is meant to get on the plane, so we'll wait and see what happens."
But Mott's comments before Tuesday's fourth T20I at Trent Bridge were the clearest indication yet that Brook's recent form has prompted a rethink. "I don't think anyone doubts Harry's ability," Mott told Sky Sports. "He's an incredible player and he's shown that.
"What I've been most impressed by is his response since missing out and that's what great players do. There's a lot to play out before we pick that first XI against New Zealand in India and we've always said it's a provisional squad. Everyone will get a really good opportunity to show what they've got."
While Brook has only played three ODIs and has not featured in a domestic List A game for four years, he has been hugely impressive in both Test and T20 cricket for England since making his international debut in early 2022.
There is no immediate like-for-like batter in England's squad: Jason Roy, Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone are the most vulnerable players, but Roy and Malan are both top-order batters while Livingstone offers England a spin-bowling option. They could also change the balance of their squad by leaving out a seamer, such as Gus Atkinson, Reece Topley or David Willey.
"Harry has not played a lot of one-day cricket over the last few years," Mott said. "He's been exceptionally good in Test cricket and T20 cricket and in leagues around the world, but the guys that we did pick have done a great job for England over the last few years. It's always harder to get into sides than it is to get out of them and we've played that card there.
"As I've said, it's a provisional squad. Every team will be tinkering before that World Cup and everyone - whether they're in that 15 or outside it - should be determined to try and put their best foot forward."
Mott added: "I find it hard, when you look at that 15, to think that anyone doesn't deserve that spot. When you're picking teams that are that strong, there's always going to be a story. If any one of those guys miss out, it's a story. As I've said, there's time between now and the World Cup.
"In an ideal world, we probably don't have to play our hand until a little bit later but those are the cards we're dealt. We had to get the squad out before this series. A lot can change: there's a lot of water under the bridge before we get to that first game against New Zealand."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98