Henry Brookes is fit again and "very hungry" to get back into Warwickshire's first-team mix following thigh surgery.
The young all-rounder underwent an operation last July to repair quad ligaments that he tore in a 2nd XI game against Glamorgan at Newport. That ruled him out of the rest of the season and ended his hopes of challenging for a place in the Bears’ charge for glory in the closing weeks.
The blow added to a frustrating couple of injury-affected years for Brookes who had previously graduated from the Edgbaston Academy into the first team with some eye-catching performances.
Now the 22-year-old is bursting to make up for lost time after emphatically proving his return to fitness by bowling 164 overs already during practice in 2022 and another 33 in the pre-season friendlies so far.
“I’ve got so much energy stored up, I just want to get going. Before Christmas, my quad was still a little bit niggly but since Christmas I’ve been all guns blazing. I’ve been able to bat and bowl and come off a full run. If the season started tomorrow, I’d be ready.Henry Brookes
“It was frustrating last year. The game at Newport was supposed to be a four-dayer but it rained the first three days and then the ground dried up so it was agreed to play two T20s. The third ball I bowled, I was coming into my delivery stride when I just felt a bit of a ping and my quad tore.
“It had already been quite a tough time because the winter before I had shoulder surgery. Then I didn’t get selected at the start of last season and tore my quad which ruled me out for the rest of the year. So it was very frustrating and I am very hungry to get back.”
Despite his recent injuries, Brookes already has 55 first-team appearances for Warwickshire under his belt. His mission now is to add to them in 2022, though he knows that will be quite a challenge in a squad which won two trophies last year.
“It is a big challenge but I like a challenge so I’m looking forward to it,” Brookes said. “We have a very strong bowling line-up, which is one of the reasons we won the championship, but I like competition. It brings the best out of me, so I’m really looking forward to getting going.
“People will be missing out at the start of the season and those people aren’t going to be the happiest, but that’s part of sport. We are in a very good position at Warwickshire to have so many good seam-bowlers so these are exciting times and hopefully over the next few years we can work as a group to bring a few more trophies home.”
Firmly part of that first-team group now are two Brookes’s after Henry’s brother Ethan made his championship debut and shone in the Royal London Cup last year.
“Ethan played the 50-over games and a championship game and is working hard this winter so he’s putting some good strides in,” said Brookes. “I look forward to hopefully playing some more games with him in the coming years.
“That would be special. We have played one or two but to play consistently together in the Bears first team would be a dream.”
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