New Zealand v England - 2nd Test: Day 2
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 25: Harry Brook of England bats during day two of the Second Test Match between New Zealand and England at Basin Reserve on February 25, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
New Zealand v England - 2nd Test: Day 2

With only days before the Ashes opener at Edgbaston, English batsman Harry Brook has presented a confident front when asked about the potential threat of the Australian Bowlers.

Brook responded assertively when asked about the pace of the Australian attack

"Obviously they might have a little bit of extra pace, but if they bowl quicker it tends to go to the boundary quicker," said Brook to ESPNcricinfo.

The 24-year-old has had some outstanding performances in recent times, cementing his position in England's batting order. The middle-order batsman has amassed 818 runs, four centuries, averaging 81.80 and striking at 99.03 in only seven Tests. You could suggest that Brook is the perfect fit for England's new 'Bazball' strategy.

"There was a lot of talk of me opening the batting - thank god I'm not doing that," Brook joked.
"I was never asked. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I'm going to be batting five and they back me batting there."

Brook's quick rise won him a lucrative IPL deal at Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Yorkshireman's maiden season did not go as planned, with one outstanding century standing out among a string of poor performances and a tournament average of 21.

He is yet to participate in the County Championship coming up to the Ashes due to his IPL commitments, but Brook claims he is unconcerned about his form or preparation.

“It's a different format, different environment,” he added.

“I've said plenty of times that this environment's the best I've been in and I'm going to go out there and be fearless.”

For the first time in his career, Brook will likely have to hold the burden of responsibility ahead the series against the Australians. Now that he has established himself as a proven scorer, the home side will likely rely on a continuation of impressive form to a battling line-up that has struggled in previous Ashes Series.

"It's a dream come true to be involved in my first Ashes," said Brook.
"Growing up I was watching some of these players who are still playing, against the best in the world and the best Australians. I'm looking forward to it.
"I feel like I'm more part of the team now. Obviously as a deputy you don't quite feel like you're meant to be there if you know what I mean. So to have been contributing and gain a few match-winning performances this winter has meant the world and I feel a big part of the team now."
Brook will join a group of heavy hitters, further adding to a strategy that the public describes as 'Bazball'. To support this term, the statistics show that since McCullum took over, the nation has scored at a run rate of 2.89 runs per over.

"It's not just all crash and burn," McCullum said last year in an interview with SEN.

"There's actually quite a bit of thought that goes into how the guys manufacture their performances and when they put pressure on bowlers, they put pressure on."

The English Batting line-up will hope to convert their confidence into action ahead of the Ashes Series opener at Edgbaston on Friday