Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire’s Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five

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Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire's Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five
Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire's Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five

Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire’s Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five

Former England captain Michael Atherton believes that young Yorkshire batsman Harry Brook should be selected ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five for the test series against New Zealand.

“I would have to pick him ahead of Bairstow at No. 5, just because of the form he is in. His first-class form has been exceptional,” Sky Sports quoted Michael Atherton as saying.

Atherton said that the batter will never be in better form than this.

“When you pick a young player is so important. And he will never be in better form than this, never be more confident than this. He may go off the boil at some stage. And then if you put him in the team it might be slightly unfortunate,” he said.

Brook has a fifty in ten of his innings this season across all competitions, including eight times in the County Championship, where he averages 140, and twice in the T20 Blast.

Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire's Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five
Former England captain Michael Atherton backs Yorkshire’s Harry Brook ahead of Jonny Bairstow at number five

The 23-year-old is unlikely to make his Test debut at Lord’s, with the middle order consisting of newly-appointed Test captain Ben Stokes. And former skipper Joe Root, as well as Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow.

The former England captain, on the other hand, believes the selectors will keep Bairstow at number five.

“Bairstow was the success story of the winter. He has been away in the IPL but in the Test stuff before that, he had two hundreds, one in the West Indies and another at the end of the Ashes,” he said.

“It is not absolutely straightforward and the slight conundrum has created by the fact Stokes has said Root will go back to No.4. And they want Pope to have a dash at No.3. I do not think England will slip Brook in that middle order. But the temptation must be there – it must be so tempting to play a young man who is in that kind of form,” he added.

Brook’s level-headedness has also impressed former England Test Captain Joe Root, who praises his Yorkshire teammate.

“How level he has been. I think that is a really good trait to have at such a young age. He has got great work ethic and thinks a lot about the game. Also he loves batting and has made the most of the opportunities he has had. He has not got bored or gone away from what has worked for him. If he can stay level, he will be a hell of a player,” he said.