Henry Brookes admits that it was a “dream come true” when he made his Warwickshire first-team debut last season.
The home-grown seamer was pitched in for his debut against Essex at Edgbaston last September and, after an understandably nervous start, acquitted himself well against the champions-elect.
I’ve been doing a lot of work with bowling coach Graeme Welch. He is a great coach and I have been picking his brains as much as I can. We have also worked together a lot as a bowling group and, with the number of really good senior bowlers at the club, that means there are a lot of people I can learn a lot from.Henry Brookes
Just like Chris Woakes, back in 2007, Brookes made his entry into championship cricket with a single appearance late in a difficult season which was to culminate in relegation for the Bears.
Woakes played one game late in ’07 and is on record as saying that initial taste smoothed his transition to regular first-team cricket the following season. Come 2008 he knew a bit about what to expect – and responded with 42 championship wickets at 20.57 apiece.
No-one is expecting quite that rapid an advance from 18-year-old Brookes (at 19 in 2008, Woakes was a year further down the line in his development). But the Solihull-born player, who has already played for England Under 19s, is targeting further solid progress this year at the club where he has been in the system from boyhood.
“It was great to make my debut last year,” Brookes said. “It was a dream come true to play for the first team having coming through the system at Warwickshire.
“I just can’t wait for the new season to arrive and hopefully I can bowl well and take some wickets for the second team and put my name in the frame for some more first-team cricket.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with bowling coach Graeme Welch. He is a great coach and I have been picking his brains as much as I can. We have also worked together a lot as a bowling group and, with the number of really good senior bowlers at the club, that means there are a lot of people I can learn a lot from.”
Brookes was disappointed to miss out on England’s Under 19s World Cup campaign in New Zealand in January due to a back problem, but he has recovered well and expects to be fully fit and firing for the 2018 season.
“I had a little bit of a back problem at the end of last season so was kept out of the winter tour as a precaution,” he said. “It was disappointing to miss the World Cup but things are going well now. I spent the early part of the winter building my fitness back up and have now stepped up the bowling and am pretty much 100 per cent.”