JACK Brooks says he his form with the bat has left him “a bit surprised”, having helped Somerset record two wins from two in the Bob Willis Trophy.

After blitzing 72 against Glamorgan in Somerset’s opening match, the number 11 followed it up with a crucial 36 at Northamptonshire, which helped swing the momentum away from the hosts.

“My batting has genuinely surprised me a bit - not just the 72 but to back it up this week,” Brooks told the County Gazette.

“Batting at 11 can be a bit of a lottery at times, and it can be over quickly.

“I know that if I can do something coming in, it gives us a bit of a bite back - and batting with experienced batsmen in Steve Davies [against Glamorgan] and Roelof van der Merwe [against Northants] made it a lot easier.

“When you’re bowling and the number 11 comes in, you expect a quick wicket, so it does deflate them a bit [to get a good score] and it’s something that we can take into our bowling.”

Brooks also took four second-innings wickets to kill off Northants’ hopes, yet he admitted: “I wasn’t at my best.

“But I got those wickets and contributed to the team.”

For Brooks, who joined Somerset in 2019 but was hit by injury issues last year, the longer break between seasons has had its benefits coming into the 2020 campaign.

“The months off gave me renewed energy for the return to training,” he said.

“I was really frustrated with how last season went.

“You want to hit the ground running at a new club, but maybe I was trying a bit too hard and injury came at a bad time.

“Taking a five-fer at Guildford helped, but I was not at my best, so the long break allowed me to refresh and get my hunger back.

“It would be nice to prove myself at Taunton.”

Brooks is also helped by being part of one of the strongest bowling attacks in the country, in which standards are sky high.

There’s Craig Overton of course, with Somerset head coach Jason Kerr saying that “if there’s anyone bowling better than Craig at the moment in this country then I’d be amazed”.

Brooks believes that analysis is “spot on”, and added: “Craig’s a machine at the moment.

“He’s full of confidence and looks like taking a wicket in every spell he bowls.

“He’s the all-round package, taking catches at slip and able to whack it too.

“We’re fortunate that he’s not with England, and we also have Jamie [Overton], Josh [Davey], who’s been as good as I’ve seen him, and Lewis [Gregory] is back from England too.

“You’d have to make a good case to convince me that anyone has better [seam bowling options] than what we have.

“Everyone is so competitive, and wants to keep their spot in the team.”

Somerset head to Warwickshire for their next match (August 15-18), and Brooks believes that they can keep improving.

“We can be more ruthless - our second innings energy dropped a bit [against Northants], and I still think we can get more runs, to boss games even more than we have done so far.

"I have a good record there [at Edgbaston] - pretty sure I'm undefeated there and got some good wicket hauls, so I'm confident of getting the same this time, if selected."

It's not just Somerset who will benefit from Brooks taking wickets, as he is asking for donations for every wicket he takes in the Bob Willis Trophy and T20 Blast this season - the proceeds going towards the Lord’s Taverners charity.

"Lord’s Taverners is a fantastic charity, for disabled and disadvantaged children," Brooks explained.

"They give them the best chance with playing sport.

"I'm the official ambassador for Oxfordshire cricket, and I'm involved in disability cricket in Somerset, too - opening the Super 1s hub in Bridgwater.

"It's great to give something back and see what it means to the kids.

"A few players around the country are doing some fundraising and aiming to raise the profile of the charity.

"Anyone willing to donate can find out more on my Twitter feed, and all donations are very well received."


LEWIS Gregory returns from a minor injury to take his place in the Somerset squad for the Warwickshire match, but George Bartlett (concussion) remains sidelined.

Squad: Tom Abell (c), Tom Banton, Jack Brooks, Eddie Byrom, Josh Davey, Steve Davies, Ben Green, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Tom Lammonby, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Roelof van der Merwe.