‘Big blow’: England star leaves India tour days before first Test for ‘personal reasons’
England batter Harry Brook has departed the squad to return home from their tour of India for “personal reasons”.
Dan Lawrence, who last played a Test match in March 2022 and recently represented the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League, will replace the 24-year-old in the squad, the ECB announced on Sunday.
“It’s a big miss,” former England captain Nasser Hussain admitted on Sky Sports.
“But the first consideration has to be the individual, the duty of care of that individual and I think we all must wish Harry and his family well.
“Cricket is important and Test cricket is important but your family and yourself are more important.
“For personal reasons he’s headed home. Hopefully, everything will be okay and he’ll come back to India at some stage.”
Since making his debut in mid-2022, Brook has become an integral piece of England’s famed ‘Bazball’ batting approach.
He hit three centuries in three matches during the team’s successful 3-0 tour of Pakistan in December of that year, including a spectacular 116-ball 153 in just his second Test.
Averaging 62.15 at a stunning strike rate of 91.76, including hitting half-centuries in four of five Ashes Tests against Australia, the 24-year old was set to play a key role in England’s attempt to become the first team to defeat India in a series on home soil since Alastair Cook’s men in 2012.
Despite the loss, Hussain still believes the youngster has a great future in English cricket, and can prove to be an especially effective weapon against the Indian attack.
“It’s a long tour but first things first, they must make sure that Harry Brook is fine,” Hussain said.
“It is a blow. His stats since coming in for England on debut at the Oval have been phenomenal.
“He’s averaged 62 at a strike rate of 92. He epitomises have Stokes and McCullum want this side to play.
“He’s a fabulous player of spin as we saw in Pakistan.
“It is a big blow on the eve of such a big Test series.”
Josh Bohannon and Keaton Jennings were also considered as replacements for Brook, given both players are currently in India and ready for call up.
However, Lawrence has long been considered the next batter waiting in the wings, having served as the key batting reserve during the Ashes.
It is expected that wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who was controversially axed from England’s Ashes squad with Jonny Bairstow installed as keeper, will replace Brook in the line-up, with Bairstow to play as a specialist batter.
“The Brook family respectfully requests privacy during this time,” the ECB said in a statement.
“In light of this, the ECB and the family kindly request the media and the public to respect their wish for privacy and refrain from intruding on their private space.”
The five-Test series against India begins in Hyderabad on Thursday.