‘I didn’t think I’d get picked up for THAT much!’: Overnight millionaire Harry Brook admits his shock after hitting the Indian Premier League jackpot and landing a whopping contract worth £1.325m at auction
- Harry Brook says he isn’t motivated by money after going for £1.325m at auction
- He was named player of the series for England’s T20 and Test series in Pakistan
- The in-form batter is keen to improve his speed as he looks to develop his game
Harry Brook still struggles to relate how it felt to become an overnight millionaire at last month’s Indian Premier League auction.
‘I’ve not got many words, to be honest. I thought I’d get picked up, but I didn’t think I’d get picked up for that much,’ says England’s newest global star of the £1.325million contract he now holds with Sunrisers Hyderabad.
‘One thing I would say is that I’m not motivated loads by money. Obviously, it’s a nice touch, but I just want to play cricket for the best teams and play for England as long as I can. Yes, the IPL was a big dream for me and the money is a big bonus, but it is not the be all and end all. I play because I love batting.’
Harry Brook is still stunned he went for £1.325m during the Indian Premier League’s auction
And as he showed in being named player of the series in both England’s Test and T20 wins in Pakistan, and winning the ICC’s player of the month award for December, he bats rather well.
During a meteoric ascent, Brook has found it difficult not to steal the thunder of others. That was the case on December 23 as along with girlfriend Lucy he joined a family gathering in a cafe in Ilkley for breakfast to celebrate his sister Rosie’s 18th birthday.
‘Obviously, I didn’t want to ruin it for her,’ he says. Naturally, though, he was curious about events taking place in Kochi.
‘I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere, so I messaged my agent and a few mates trying to find a link. Then, Matthew Fisher FaceTimed me, and propped his phone up so I could watch it off his TV. It was very blurry, so I just kept asking, “What’s it up to now?” every couple of minutes.’
Brook won player of the series in both England’s T20 and Test (pictured) series versus Pakistan
So, is he worth the investment? ‘I’ll be able to tell you that after the IPL, won’t I?’ he says. ‘I want to be a match-winner, that’s something I’ve always said, and batting in the middle order, one of the main aspects of my game is trying to chase down scores.
‘It might have been a different story if I hadn’t done so well in the Tests in Pakistan, but I played spin fairly well out there and there will be a lot of that in the IPL. The World Cup is in India this year too, so there will be plenty of spin to face in the coming months, and different challenges.’
Given his talent, there is little doubt that Brook will be part of England’s plans for the Subcontinent in the autumn, despite the fact he is uncapped in the format, has not played a 50-over game for almost four years and only 15 in his career.
On Monday, sporting a fresh ‘skin fade’ hair cut designed to get him through this trip and next month’s Test series in New Zealand — ‘I knew if I got it done the day before I came out here, I wouldn’t need another one for three or four weeks’ — he began preparations at Mangaung Oval for his one-day international debut on Friday.
The 23-year-old star is keen to improve his speed as he looks to develop his game as a batsman
After netting alongside Ben Duckett for 90 minutes, he emerged outside the gym area of the ground to churn out pull-ups.
If physical state was an issue for him during age-group cricket — his school coach Martin Speight, the former Durham and Sussex player, labelled him ‘one of the worst athletes I’ve ever seen’ — the same cannot be said now.
Interestingly, however, it is not strength but speed that one of world cricket’s most explosive batsmen is fixated on in a bid to improve his game.
‘I’m fairly fit, I’m just not quick,’ the 23-year-old says. ‘I can run long distances but especially for white-ball, I could do with being faster between the wickets. I could probably get five or six runs more an innings.’
England are well stocked for boundary strikers but in Bloemfontein, the largest playing area in South Africa, the twos and threes will be crucial.
Mark Wood, Jimmy Anderson, Ben Stokes and Joe Root (L-R) enjoying the Pakistan Test series
Over recent months, England have adopted a kind of one-size-fits-all approach to their cricket which Brook, with a Test average of 80 and a foot-to-the-floor strike rate of 92, encapsulates perfectly. But can he and they play that way in this year’s Ashes?
‘I don’t think we’re going to change. Why would we? We have lost one Test match out of 10, beaten Pakistan 3-0 on their own patch, something no other team have managed, and that is a phenomenal achievement,’ says Brook, insisting that the style of play under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum is infectious.
‘It’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing cricket. You feel invincible,’ he says. ‘In the second Test in Pakistan, I only scored nine in the first innings and hit one straight up in the air. I only did that because I felt like I could do anything.
‘Baz and Stokesy had given me that much confidence going out there, and I had such confidence in the team, that I felt like we were going to win any way, so it didn’t matter what I did.’
Naturally, he scored a hundred batting like a millionaire in the second innings, befitting his new status.
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