Harry Brook insisted England can salvage something from a harsh winter ahead of two crucial T20 games against the West Indies.
England’s dismal exit from the World Cup group stage was followed by an ODI reset that got off to a false start with a 2-1 defeat in the Caribbean, while they subsequently lost T20 games in Barbados and Grenada.
But Phil Salt’s maiden T20 hundred and Brooks’ 31 not out in seven deliveries – he hit 24 from the final over – ensured England were 223 behind on Saturday.
The tourists arrived in Trinidad on Sunday with renewed hope and Brook believes two wins this week could do wonders for them, a few months before the T20 World Cup in the region.
Brook compared England’s predicament to last year’s series in Pakistan, where they came from behind to win 4-3 before securing the T20 World Cup title.
“We’re still a long way from the World Cup, but these two games can make a big difference, especially the experience of these pitches and these spectators,” Brook said.
“We had it before the last T20 World Cup against Pakistan where we had to win the last two games and we just tried to play them all like finals. This is what we need to do for the rest of this series.
“We can draw a lot of confidence from this victory. You have so much clarity when chasing such a big result that you know you have to get out of the blocks quickly.”
- 1st T20 in Barbados: West Indies win by four wickets
- 2nd T20 in Grenada: West Indies win by 10 runs
- 3rd T20 in Grenada: England win by seven wickets
England were trailing by eight balls at the start of the 20th over when the Windies resorted to Andre Russell, who has faced this situation many times.
Brook, who had seven from two balls at this stage, needed 21 not to lose the series and with Salt on 109 at the other end he whipped the all-rounder well for four.
Russell overcompensated by throwing too wide, allowing Brook to free his arms for a six-over extra cover before a full toss was sent over the rope with England needing five from three balls.
The Yorkshireman struck twice at mid-wicket before leading England to a seven-wicket win in style by hitting another, wider delivery over backward point.
“I just try to be as cool as possible,” Brook said. “I try to be free-flowing – once I get tense in any format, I’m never as good.
“It was really nice to go out there and finish it. Hopefully I can do that more often in my career.”
Brook bowled noticeably a lot in the net sessions and especially tried to improve his off-spin.
He memorably caught New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in Wellington earlier this year – his only Test wicket so far – but as a military medium pacer.
While adding more depth to England’s bowling is still a long way off, Brook is optimistic he can be involved in The Hundred for Northern Superchargers next year.
“It was a joke at first, but then I started getting pretty good at it,” Brook added. “I’m just trying to work on it and see what can happen.
“The seamers are still there for Test cricket. But I try to look at The Hundred. I might not bowl, but it’s a small goal that I have.”