Brooks keen for one-day improvement
Jack Brooks believes next month’s trip to South Africa with the England Performance Programme will help him develop into a more accomplished limited-overs bowler.
After completing a three-week training programme at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, Brooks, along with the rest of the EPP fast bowling department and selected senior players, will travel to Potchefstroom to continue his development.
The 27-year-old was a regular wicket-taker for Northants last season, playing a major role in their LV= County Championship promotion push until a back injury ended his campaign prematurely, but struggled to assert himself in the limited-overs formats and will use the trip to work on his weaknesses with the white ball.
Speaking about his aims, Brooks, who signed a two-year contract extension with Northants in July, told ecb.co.uk: “This winter the EPP and the Lions is all about one-day cricket to help building for a target of the 2015 World Cup.
“The Lions are going away to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to play 14 one-day games over a six-week period so I hope to learn a lot more about my one-day game and get some more experience playing one-day cricket, especially in the sub-continent conditions.
“For the next three weeks in South Africa, I will be working on my one-day skills and white-ball cricket. It will be good fun, red-ball cricket has been my strong point so far so it will be good to start working on my weaknesses in one-day cricket.
“It’s been a tough few weeks but I can't wait to get out into some good weather conditions at altitude in Potchefstroom.”
Team director Andy Flower conceded there may be a need to rethink aspects of England's selection policy ahead of the 2015 World Cup following their one-day series whitewash in India.
With England excelling in Tests, Brooks openly acknowledges the most likely way of breaking into the senior team, at this moment in time, is through the limited-overs route.
Asked whether the one-day format was a realistic aim, Brooks said: “Yeah, I would have thought so, especially for younger guys. The Test team looks so settled at the moment and they still have a few guys on the fringes, who are world-class players and can't quite get in.
“They are winning everything so you have got to perform very, very well to try and jump in ahead of those guys or there has to be a lot of injuries to even get a sniff. It looks clear at the moment, they are trying to work out what guys are going to be able to play one-day cricket in four years' time at the World Cup.
“They may be trying out a few guys over the next year or two to give them a lot more experience and exposure.”
After witnessing the different coaching and training procedures at first-hand during his time at Loughborough, Brooks is a keen believer that the EPP gives players the very best chance of succeeding at international level, when their opportunity arises.
“It’s definitely given me an insight into what is expected of someone who wants to play for England,” he added.
“Also, what is expected of you fitness-wise and to see how much you want to jump up to another level because their motto is practice hard, play easy. If you are willing to put the hard yards in and you can get a lucky break to get into the team, you have really got to make the most of it.
“The England set-up is so professional and well organised, they have everything down to a tee. They have every base covered and with the preparation that goes into everything, you can see how much they are willing to go to not leave any stone unturned. The little things that build up will give everyone the better chance to succeed.”
An array of former and current England players visited Loughborough during the training camp to educate the emerging talent about their experiences of playing for their country and Brooks believes their valued insight will stand the players in good stead for the future.
“There is a lot of support staff but everyone is there to help each other and they all have different jobs,” he said.
“You can go to a particular person to talk about something and it’s been great having the likes of Michael Vaughan, Graham Gooch, James Anderson, Hugh Morris, Andrew Strauss and Alec Stewart. They have all come in and given us a chat about what it means to be an England player and what is expected of you.
“We’ve bounced questions off them and seen their thoughts and how they went about their business playing for England. It’s been a great few weeks and I know I have learnt a lot from it and it has given me an idea of where I want to be with my cricket.
“Now it’s just a case of working on my skills, putting them into practice and hopefully knocking on the Lions door and more if more comes my way.”