Jack looking forward to a "normal" winter

This winter will be very different from 12 month ago for Jack Brooks.

This time last year the Somerset bowler was recovering from double achilles surgery and an operation on his thumb.

“Last winter was pretty brutal for me,” he said when we spoke to him at the Cooper Associates County Ground this week. “I couldn’t do any fitness work and I had to almost learn to walk again. I was on crutches or in bed or hobbling around on one leg, so twelve months on it’s nice to be able to get up in the morning and go for a run. More importantly I’m pain free now which is great and I’m really looking forward to the winter this time around.

“I needed to get it done because I was in so much pain and discomfort. I needed to be able to function. It was tough but I tried to stay positive, and I’ve always kept myself in good nick fitness-wise. I was diligent with my rehab and that side of things, but there’s always that seed of doubt in the back of your mind as to whether you can get back to the level that you want to on the field. At the start of the season, I still wasn’t quite right from a form and technique perspective, which was frustrating, but the medical staff explained that I wouldn’t just be able to go straight back into things and that it would need to be a gradual process. When you get to a certain age, you don’t feel like time is on your side, but by the end of the year I was starting to perform at a level that I was more happy with.

“I was really pleased with the amount of cricket I played in the end. I featured in all three formats, and it was almost as if I’d reinvented myself. I hadn’t played any T20 cricket since arriving here, so I hadn’t featured in the format since 2018. Injuries, England call ups and Covid took some players out of the picture, and I was lurking around the fringes and doing well in the 2nd XI and then I think I performed well when I was asked to go out there for the Firsts. I was content with my form because I knew that I could perform if I was called upon.

“I’m taking a lot of positives from this year. I’ll be fitter next season after a good winter without injuries or niggles. I’ve still got a huge amount of desire to keep cracking on with my skills and I still see myself as a new ball and death bowler in white-ball cricket and new ball or first change in red-ball. I’ll have a lot more confidence going into next season that’s for sure.”

A number of the younger players mentioned that Jack had been extremely supportive ahead of their debuts this summer. Why did he take it upon himself to take on that role?

“As you get older you know what the younger lads are feeling because you went through it yourself,” he said. “I always say to them that whatever happens you will always remember your first game and your first wickets and things like that. It’s great that they got the chance to walk out for the first time here in front of a full house, especially when our Members and supporters are so passionate about homegrown talent.

“They’re a really talented bunch and I just wanted them to be relaxed and for them to enjoy the moment. I didn’t go on about technical stuff, I just wanted them to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it. As a senior player you have a role to play with the younger guys. You need to be available for them to lean on for advice.”

What are Jack’s plans for the winter months?

“I’ve got quite a few work experience placements lined up alongside my fitness work which will take me up to Christmas. Then, from the start of the year it will be fitness and cricket all the way. If nothing else, it’s nice to be able to move my limbs which is more than I could do last winter.”

What does he hope to achieve in 2022?

“The Holy Grail is still the County Championship, and we want to win trophies. That’s always the main aim. I want to contribute where I can and help the team be successful. Hopefully, I can now enjoy my cricket pain free because I’m really excited to see where this squad can get to. We didn’t have a great end to the year, but we were still one of the strongest teams in the country.

“At the end of the day, you get judged on trophies and you don’t want the second and third places to keep adding up. We won the Royal London Cup in 2019 and have been so close on a number of occasions since then without quite crossing the line but we’ve got an incredibly talented group of players here who are going to be around for a long time. There’s a lot to be excited about and hopefully the old guys can put in some performances too.”

Will Jack help Somerset claim that elusive County Championship title?

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's