Bowling in 40 degrees and spending a week waiting to resume as nightwatchman are two of the differences to the norm that Henry Brookes has encountered in Australia.
Warwickshire seamer Brookes is in Perth, Western Australia, where he will spend five and a half months this winter, combining technical and fitness work with playing grade cricket for Bayswater Morley District CC.
It is for Bayswater Morley that the 20-year-old is currently one not out, having gone in as nightwatchman against Gosnells last Saturday. After Gosnells were bowled out for 139 (Brookes 14-6-26-1), Bayswater Morley closed the first day on 65 for two, Brookes having reined in his attacking instincts to stay unbeaten on just a single from 30 balls in 41 minutes.
This winter is it’s all about looking after my body and honing my skills so that hopefully I can play a big role for Warwickshire next season.Henry Brookes
His nightwatchman role will now last a week as the second day of the match is next Saturday when Brookes will be eager to make a score as he settles into a stay down under which will see him coached by former Australia seamer Bruce Reid.
“I am really enjoying it out here and it was great to play last Saturday,” he said. “I was pretty happy with the way I bowled, even though I didn’t take the wickets, and hopefully I can get some runs on Saturday.
“It’s a great set-up at Bayswater Morley. They have two bowling coaches – Bruce Reid, whose record speaks for itself, and Michael Thistle who played for Western Australia – and they are both brilliant guys to work with. For me the winter will be a mixture of getting my overs in and looking after my body. It will be really good preparation for joining back up with the Bears in the spring.
“A couple of days have touched 40 degrees and I have never bowled in those conditions before so that was interesting. But I like the sunshine so I prefer that to the cold and grey of an English winter!”
Brookes found a big role thrust upon him last season as Warwickshire’s seam-attack was shredded by injuries. He responded manfully with nearly 400 overs and 53 wickets in all first-team cricket, a superb effort in his first full season.
He wants to be a big player for the Bears in 2020 and is also looking forward to being part of the inaugural Hundred tournament after being drafted for Birmingham Phoenix.
“This winter is it’s all about looking after my body and honing my skills so that hopefully I can play a big role for Warwickshire next season,” he said. “I am also really excited to be Phoenix player and playing for my home town team alongside the two local big dogs Woakesy and Moeen, will be brilliant
“It’s a really exciting prospect and I’m just thrilled with the prospect of mixing with some world-class players, in my own team and the opposition. I just want to learn all I can and hopefully make a contribution.”