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Vitality County Championship – Harry Brook dedicates century to late grandmother as he targets England return

Harry Brook says his performances this summer are dedicated to his late grandmother Pauline, who passed away in March.

Pauline Brook was visible throughout her grandson’s career and became a cult hero within English cricket. She often collected awards on Harry’s behalf, of which there have already been many in the player’s short career. She was the figurehead of the Brook family and lived next to Burley-in-Wharfedale Cricket Club, where Harry learned the game.

Pauline fell ill in January, while Brook was preparing for England’s Test tour of India in the UAE. The 25-year-old subsequently pulled out of the five-match series, before missing the Indian Premier League with Delhi Capitals after she passed away.

Brook has since returned to action with Yorkshire and marked his first match for the county since July 2022 with an emotional 69-ball century against Leicestershire, looking to the sky upon reaching three figures. It was his first competitive appearance since England’s fifth T20I against West Indies in December. A second century – 126 not out – came on Saturday against Derbyshire at Headingley, as Yorkshire posted 450 for 5 declared in their first innings.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Pauline’s death, Brook dedicated both his centuries to his grandmother and reflected on a tough time for the family. He was also grateful for the time he had with her at the start of the year before her condition deteriorated.

“Both of those hundreds [for Yorkshire this season] and all of the runs I’ve scored so far this year are all dedicated to her,” Brook told the ECB Reporters Network.

“When I came home from Abu Dhabi, it was a very tough time, and I’m glad I did come home. Obviously, it was a big decision to make. I hadn’t played hundreds of games for England, so to just turn down a big Test tour like that [India] was a big decision to make.

“But she comes before all of that. She would have come out there a couple of years ago, so I had to come back and support her as much as I could. I managed to take her out for a coffee and whatnot in that first week I was back.

“I was still training with a mindset of trying to get back out for the last couple of Tests, all being well. It all disintegrated fairly quickly, so that didn’t happen. I just tried to support her as best as I could and everyone around us.”

Following the conclusion of Yorkshire’s match with Derbyshire, in which rain washed out the entirety of the scheduled third day’s play on Sunday, Brook will play his final County Championship match of this portion of the season, against Glamorgan next week. He will then join England for their T20I series against Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Brook was an ever-present in England’s 2022 T20 World Cup triumph and will be integral to their title defence. Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott announce their provisional squad on Tuesday (April 30) with Brook set to be a pivotal figure in a relatively young group. He will then return to the Test side this summer for series against West Indies and Sri Lanka from July.

“I’m looking forward to it, if selected,” Brook said of the World Cup. “We join up at the end of next month. I’m looking forward to being back with the lads and hopefully producing the goods for England again.”

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