England Test squad: Emerging talents Harry Brook and Matthew Potts to usher in new era

To some county cricket fans they are already familiar faces but just who are England new-boys Harry Brook and Matthew Potts? Planet Sport’s Jonathan Doidge tells us more.

Here's an introduction to two players we're going to be hearing a lot more about as a new-look England opt for an injection of youth and emerging talent for the upcoming New Zealand Test series.

Harry Brook

Harry Brook gets England call-up

Harry Brook, 23, has already gained England recognition at Under-19 level, when he was captain, and in a T20 international.

However, he has always said that he wants to play Test cricket and he looks likely to be given his chance in the Test series against New Zealand next month.

Brook's maiden appearance in the England red ball squad will be no surprise to Yorkshire supporters who have followed him over the course of the last five or six seasons at Headingley.

From the first time you see this right-hander play, you know you are witnessing a special talent.

His ability to play the ball late, right under his eyes, gives him a split second more to retain excellent balance as he strikes the ball, while his trigger movement also takes him deep in the crease.

This can occasionally prove to be his undoing if the ball is moving or swinging late but in the main it gives him a great base from which to work and the runs he has put on the board this season underline that.

I've not seen anyone who has more shots around the ground than Brook.

His is a combination of white ball improvisation but the ability to play to the red ball textbook when necessary. He's been precocious for some time but also a work in progress.

At times, he has gone in and played a fabulous-looking 25 and then slapped the ball straight to a fielder.

His 41 at Headingley against Lancashire last week looked ridiculously easy against a fine bowling attack, until Matt Parkinson undid him with a beauty.

It was his only sub-50 score in the championship this season, which tells you just how well he is doing.

Already in 2022 he has scored three hundreds, one of them a career-best 194 against Kent and he has developed on a maturity that he was beginning to show last summer.

He made two tons during that season, often playing well but getting out after having got himself in. It was frustrating to watch because you knew that, if he could stick around, he would score a lot of runs.

And just to show how his development has been, he has now already scored more championship runs this season that he did in the whole of 2021.

He is in the form of his young life and now had to be the time to see if he can successfully make the step up among the big boys.

As a junior player, he learned his trade at Burley-in-Wharfedale Cricket Club, near Ilkley, in the Airedale and Wharfedale League.

His talent was developed further by working with coach Martin Speight at Sedbergh School, someone with whom he still has a great relationship and speaks to often about his batting.

I'm sure one of the first people Harry Brook would have contacted when he got the nod about his England squad selection would have been Speight, who himself scored more than 9,000 first-class runs in a career that included spells at Durham and Sussex.

We have seen many players do brilliantly in the county game but then being unable to cope with the next step and there are no guarantees for Brook.

However, he is notoriously hardworking when it comes to preparation and practice, and, if anyone can go on to greater things, then I believe he can.

Matthew Potts

Matthew Potts part of new-look England

Matthew 'Matty' Potts may be even more of a left-field selection than Brook, to those who don't follow Durham's progress from match-to-match.

However, the Sunderland-born fast bowler has shown more than a degree of promise for his county since making his debut as an 18-year-old at Canterbury against Kent, in 2017 (when, incidentally, he was given a field of nine slips as his team pressed for what would have been the winning wicket!).

Even so, much of that progress has been in white ball cricket, having played 50 matches across the two white ball formats for Durham and taking 65 wickets. Red ball appearances have been more sporadic.

Potts has the advantage, in some respects, of playing for the county for whom new England captain Ben Stokes plies his trade.

Stokes, therefore, has a firm handle on his abilities, and, with injuries to a wealth of fast bowling talent that he should have at his disposal, he has seen enough in the right armer to give him an international call-up.

Also a former England Under-19, as well as a product of the Durham Academy, Potts played in the inaugural season of the Hundred for the Northern Superchargers and he has now extended his red ball experience to 24 first-class matches.

He has 77 wickets at 26.90, moves the ball around plenty and has enjoyed a super season so far in division two, taking 35 of those 77 wickets at 18.57, including four hauls of six or more.

He took 11 wickets in last week's defeat of Glamorgan in Chester-le-Street.

In effect, Potts is stepping up a couple of levels but he is going the right way as a bowler, and, with two first-class half-centuries to his name, he is no mug with the bat either.

Hopefully, Stokes will have sufficient confidence to play his Durham colleague against the team that is officially the best Test side in the world, New Zealand.

READ MORE: England select James Anderson, Stuart Broad and uncapped duo ahead of New Zealand Test

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