Harry Brook could yet force his way into the final England squad for the defence of their World Cup crown as white-ball captain Jos Buttler suggested the Yorkshireman remains on his radar.
Brook was omitted from the preliminary party to travel to India in the autumn, nudged out of contention by Test skipper Ben Stokes being selected as a specialist batter after reversing his ODI retirement.
England have until September 28 to finalise their 15-strong group and Brook delivered a jaw-dropping reminder of his capabilities with a 41-ball ton for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred this week.
While Buttler is standing by last week’s decision, he suggested he has not entirely discounted Brook, who has become an automatic pick in the full-strength Test and T20 sides, from his thoughts.
England’s provisional World Cup squad
- Jos Buttler (captain)
- Moeen Ali
- Gus Atkinson
- Jonny Bairstow
- Sam Curran
- Liam Livingstone
- Dawid Malan
- Adil Rashid
- Joe Root
- Jason Roy
- Ben Stokes
- Reece Topley
- David Willey
- Mark Wood
- Chris Woakes
Speaking ahead of Manchester Originals’ men’s eliminator against Southern Brave, Buttler said: “There’s still a long time before everyone’s meant to get on the plane so we’ll wait and see what happens.
“We all know Harry’s a fantastic player and we saw what he can do the other night, it’s not like it’s a surprise, we know what a brilliant player he is.
“He’s just the unfortunate one at the moment to not be in that squad. Ben Stokes coming back and being available just as a batter changes the dynamic a little bit.
“Ben’s a fantastic player to be able to welcome back. It’s a really tough selection, there have been players performing really well over a period of time and that’s where we are at the minute.”
After the conclusion of the group stages of The Hundred, Brook, whose Superchargers side were unable to reach the knockout rounds, sits second in the run-scoring charts, behind only Buttler.
The Originals captain’s 298 runs at an average of 42.57 and strike-rate of 143.26 has underpinned their success, where they will be hoping to go one better after losing last year’s final.
Buttler missed last year’s competition because of a calf problem and Originals head coach Simon Katich is in no doubt that having such a star performer in their ranks this time has been so crucial.
“In a way, it’s like having another overseas player in the ranks given you’ve got the England captain, highly-experienced and a world-class player to boot,” Katich told the PA news agency.
“England in recent times have had wonderful players and a lot of white-ball success but you’d be struggling to name a player that’s outplayed him in that period of time.
“He’s achieved it all – won the T20 World Cup last year as the skipper, won the ODI World Cup in 2019 as a player and vice-captain to Eoin Morgan. His CV speaks for itself.”
England’s upcoming fixtures
Twenty20 international series vs New Zealand
Wednesday August 30 – Seat Unique Riverside, Durham (6pm)
Friday September 1 – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester (6pm)
Sunday September 3 – Edgbaston, Birmingham (2.30pm)
Thursday September 5 – Trent Bridge, Nottingham (6pm)
ODI series vs New Zealand
Friday September 8 – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (12.30pm)
Sunday September 10 – The Ageas Bowl, Southampton (11am)
Wednesday September 13 – The Kia Oval, London (12.30pm)
Friday September 15 – Lord’s, London (12.30pm)
ODI series vs Ireland
Wednesday September 20 – Headingley, Leeds (12.30pm)
Saturday September 23 – Trent Bridge, Nottingham (11am)
Tuesday September 26 – Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol (12.30pm)
ICC 50-over Cricket World Cup
Thursday October 5 – vs New Zealand, Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (9.30am)
Tuesday October 10 – vs Bangladesh, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala (9.30am)
Sunday October 15 – vs Afghanistan, Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi (9.30am)
Saturday October 21 – vs South Africa, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (9.30am)
Thursday October 26 – vs Sri Lanka, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore (9.30am)
Sunday October 29 – vs India, BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow (8.30am)
Saturday November 4 – vs Australia, Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (8.30am)
Wednesday November 8 – vs Netherlands, Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gahunje (8.30am)
Saturday November 11 – vs Pakistan, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (8.30am)
Watch England’s white-ball fixtures against New Zealand and Ireland, and then the World Cup in India, live on Sky Sports.