Nasser Hussain says the departure of Harry Brook comes as a ‘big blow’ to England’s chances ahead of the side’s Test series in India, with the batter’s approach ‘epitomising’ the Bazball era under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes.
Brook appeared a shoo-in to be named in England’s XI for the opening match of this five-Test series, but the 24-year-old is set to return home with immediate effect due to ‘personal reasons’.
Surrey’s Dan Lawrence, a batting reserve during last year’s Ashes series, has been called up as a replacement and could feature for the first time since England’s tour of the West Indies back in 2022.
The first Test of this winter’s eagerly anticipated series starts in Hyderabad on Thursday.
‘It’s a big miss. But the first consideration has to be the individual, the duty of care of that individual and I think we all must wish Harry and his family well,’ former England captain Hussain told Sky Sports while reacting to the news.
‘But the first consideration has to be the individual, the duty of care of that individual and I think we all must wish Harry and his family well.
‘Cricket is important and Test cricket is important but your family and yourself are more important.
‘For personal reasons he’s headed home. Hopefully everything will be okay and hopefully he’ll come back to India at some stage.’
Hussain believes Brook could have enjoyed great success in India given his exemplary performance against spin bowling on England’s tour of Pakistan in 2022.
‘It’s a long tour but first things first, they must make sure that Harry Brook is fine,’ he added.
‘It is a blow. His stats since coming in for England on debut at the Oval have been phenomenal.
‘He’s averaged 62 at a strike rate of 92. He epitomises have Stokes and McCullum want this side to play.
‘He’s a fabulous player of spin as we saw in Pakistan.
‘It is a big blow on the eve of such a big Test series.’
Hussain feels the tourists could have looked to Josh Bohannon and Keaton Jennings, with the duo already in India with the England Lions, but labelled Lawrence a ‘seriously good cricketer’ to call up in place of Brook.
‘Lawrence was the spare batter last summer in the Ashes so he was the next cab off the rank,’ he went on.
‘He has played in India. He played on that last tour, played three Test matches and got one 50.
‘The other way of going would have been the lads that are already out there with the Lions so Josh Bohannon in the middle order, the Lancashire player who has played really well on the tour.
‘And I’m a big fan of Keaton Jennings, both as a batter and as a catcher around the bat. When the spinner is one he’s one of the short legs in the game at the moment.
‘Jennings is in fabulous form, he’s an opening batter. A like-for-like replacement would have been Bohannon or Dan Lawrence and I think they like Lawrence.
‘They like that Lawrence offers them some spin as well. It’s a blow for the lads that are on the Lions, but Dan Lawrence is a seriously good cricketer.’
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