Ethan Brookes is ready to make ‘an impression’ with the Bears this season after heading down under this winter.

The 21-year-old spent three-and-a-half months with Prahran Cricket Club in Melbourne, looking to build on a 2021 campaign that featured One Day Cup and Second XI cricket.

Although Ethan returned to Edgbaston slightly early due to a back niggle, the experience and opportunity to develop under the eyes of former Bear David Hemp proved the right decision.

“It was a great experience, and I’m pleased I chose to go,” said the Knowle and Dorridge product.

“I aimed to go out there and compete and not worry about doing too much technical work. There were plenty of coaches available if I needed them, and it was great to work with David Hemp. He and the other coaches offered some advice, and it’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes on you.

“I scored a hundred against Melbourne pre-Christmas and added a couple of T20 fifties at a high rate, so I’m pleased with my form.

Brookes added: “I started the season as an all-rounder, but I tweaked my back. It’s nothing too serious, just an inflamed disk, so I stopped bowling and opened the batting, which was a good compromise.

“I’ve had some injections back here, and I’m already batting and fielding, so there are no concerns.”

The Victorian Premier Cricket League, in which Prahran CC take part, is the highest competition within the state.

Involving 18 competitive teams, it was no surprise to see Australian Test cricketers earning valuable time between state matches.

So when speaking in the viewing area outside the home dressing room, a wry smile appeared on Ethan’s face as highlights of Todd Murphy’s seven wickets on his Test debut against India were on TV.

Todd, a young right-arm off spinner, had dismissed Ethan a few months earlier…

“It was a really high standard, and I was fortunate to play with a group of talented lads,” said the right-hander.

“There were a few Test players, including Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb, which is great to see. Peter is captain of Victoria and has two Test centuries to his name, which tells you how strong the level is.

“I feel I’ve returned a better cricketer, and my aim for this year is to make an impression and produce with bat and ball.

“I’ll have some chats with Robbo (Mark Robinson) on how I possibly fit in the side, but I’m not looking too far ahead. I’ll keep working hard, build on this experience and hopefully, I can put my name in the hat for selection.”

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