SRH is waiting for this brook to find IPL flow. Cricket
Harry Brook is one of only two hundreds in IPL 2023. When he scored an unbeaten 100 off 55 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 14, it seemed as if Brook had chosen a jam-packed Eden Gardens to mark his grand arrival. League.
The innings powered Sunrisers Hyderabad to 228/4 – their only total in excess of 200 this season – and a 23-run victory. In the three games before that evening and the four games that followed, Brook’s highest score was 18. That is why his total score in eight matches is 163 at an average of 23.28 and a strike rate of 125.38.
These unimpressive numbers just don’t justify the hefty price tag 13.25 crores was paid by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the services of the England batsman. SRH’s eagerness to bring the best out of Brook has resulted in constant tinkering with the batting order. After all, the 24-year-old had arrived with some fanfare after scoring centuries in each Test on the tour of Pakistan in December in England’s 3-0 series sweep.
Brook started the campaign in the middle order. He batted at No.4 in the first game against Rajasthan Royals and then at No.5 against Lucknow Super Giants. Against Rajasthan, Brook scored 13 off 21 balls before Yuzvendra Chahal took a single with his bat and hit the stumps. Five days later in Lucknow, Brook tried to be more active by charging Ravi Bishnoi down the track, but the leg-spinner smartly pulled back the length and stumped the England batsman.
Sensing the struggle against spin in the middle overs, SRH encouraged him to open, and it looked like he hit that dazzling hundred. It was only his fifth match as an opener in 97 T20 innings, but Sunrisers would have felt that starting against pace in the Powerplay would bring out his strengths.
Strangely though, he hasn’t been comfortable against the fast bowlers as well, having been undone by him in his last four innings. Twice, he has been dismissed attempting the short delivery. A fortnight ago, he was caught at cover on the top edge against Mumbai Indians left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff. At the Ferozshah Kotla ground on Saturday, he moved back to No.5, a clear indication SRH are still struggling to find Brook’s best position. After Brook and Abhishek Sharma opened against CSK, Sunrisers head coach Brian Lara had said that the opening combination would “continue for some time”.
Moving Brook down the order again on Saturday did not produce the desired result. On a belt of the pitch where the batsmen had the luxury of playing through the line, Brook was dismissed for a two-ball duck after Mitchell Marsh mistimed a short ball from Axar Patel at midwicket.
SRH batting coach Hemang Badani has called for patience. “It is a question of an innings. It is easy for anyone to think that he is not in form. “But I firmly believe that it is a matter of knocking. Then it all falls back into place. We’ve got Harry back to bat at No.5. Maybe just give him a few games. I truly believe that with time Harry will be one of the biggest names in world cricket.
Brooke must clear the web of suspicion. He said after his century, ‘In the initial few matches, I was putting a little pressure on myself.’ “I went on social media, people were calling me crap, and you start to doubt yourself a little bit.”
While the increased scrutiny following the buzz with his exploits for England is inevitable, it is important to consider that Brook had never played in India before. Although pitches for T20 games are largely uniform across the country, the climate and nature of the surfaces at Indian grounds still present a different challenge than what Brook is accustomed to. His only previous experience in the subcontinent was on flat surfaces in Pakistan, where he displayed ample evidence of his match-winning ability.
This ability has been on display in only one game so far for SRH. As the team management believes, it is probably just a matter of innings. However, it needs to come soon to salvage SRH’s faltering season.