The IPL obviously took notice. He went for INR 13.25 crore at the auction. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who went in with the biggest purse, were fairly happy with their purchase. They have a history of underwhelming middle orders. So to pick up the next big thing in the sport, a man who weaves most of his magic from No. 5, constituted a big win.
Only nobody thought it would go like this. Or maybe they should have.
Those runs in Pakistan came on flat tracks. The ones in New Zealand had pace and bounce. This is India, and six out of seven times, he’s found himself dealing with conditions that are slow and low.
Brook began IPL 2023 in the middle order, where he had a tendency to commit too early and lose his shape. He’s built a whole lot of muscle memory playing cricket in places where the ball comes on to the bat. So as soon as he sees one on a length, he’s into the drive on the up. He hasn’t always accounted for how, over here, the ball stops on the pitch.
SRH bought Brook for a lot of money. That automatically brings scrutiny. They made some of his team-mates bat out of position to give him the best chance of success. That brings a whole different kind of pressure
Outside of that innings, though, Brook has made 63 runs in 73 balls with seven fours and no sixes. This is not uncommon for an overseas player dealing with their first IPL. Especially because a lot of them, like Brook, grow up in conditions that are the polar opposite of what they face here, of what they are asked to immediately overcome. Eoin Morgan and Aaron Finch, two World Cup-winning captains, know exactly what Brook’s going through right now.
It is totally on him to do better but also, should his team have put so much on his plate? They bought Brook for a lot of money. That automatically brings scrutiny. They made some of his team-mates bat out of position to give him the best chance of success. That brings a whole different kind of pressure.
And as for Brook, well, a former Sunrisers coach, the one who took them to the title in 2016, believes he will provide a handsome return on the investment.
Moody has since pointed out that Brook isn’t playing on instinct like he used to, which makes sense. He is with a new team, in a new country, answering to the largest cricket-watching audience in the world. Some of them had already got to him. “I went on to social media, people were calling me rubbish, and you start to doubt yourself a little bit.” It almost feels like he’s given a little too much thought to proving he belongs in the IPL.
All of this combined has left Sunrisers with a huge problem, and because it’s at the top, it’s trickling down into everything they are trying to do.