England trio Zak Crawley, Joe Root and Harry Brook were all out for single-figure scores as bowlers across the Vitality County Championship had more success following the return of the Dukes ball.

The trial of the Kookaburra ball, which has a flatter seam than its Dukes counterpart and tends to go softer earlier, in the opening two rounds has proved divisive and led to much higher scores than expected in the early season.

Warwickshire captain Alex Davies’ fantastic 149 underpinned his side’s 340 for four in their Division One clash against Hampshire at the Utilita Bowl – but the opener was the only batter in the country to reach three figures on Friday.

Crawley edged to third slip for five in his first appearance of the season for Kent, who ended a rain-affected opening day on 111 for three after 39 overs against defending champions Surrey at Canterbury.

Daniel Bell-Drummond registered 70 before he was trapped in front by Tom Lawes and Daniel Worrall accounted for Crawley and fellow opener Ben Compton.

Four wickets for Shane Snater and three for England hopeful Sam Cook helped Essex skittle Lancashire for 146 at Chelmsford, where the hosts went to stumps on 68 for one with just 54 overs possible.

England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir snared the in-form Joe Clarke as Nottinghamshire were all out for 193 against Somerset at Taunton.

Craig Overton was the pick of the attack with three for 57 before a classy 70 not out from Sean Dickson led Somerset to 116 for one at the close.

Durham’s Ollie Robinson thrashed six fours and three sixes in a belligerent 55 off 43 balls but his side were all out for 244 against Worcestershire in a clash between the two promoted sides at Kidderminster.

Former West Indies captain Jason Holder took three wickets for Worcestershire, who reached 78 for four in reply.

In Division Two, Yorkshire were dismissed for 159 by Middlesex at Lord’s, where Root steered to gully for five while Brook made just three before nicking to second slip.

Middlesex slipped to 37 for two in reply but Mark Stoneman’s unbeaten 38 and Leus du Plooy’s 23 not out led the hosts to 84 without further loss, with 55.4 overs bowled in the day.

Half-centuries for Ben Charlesworth (62), Miles Hammond (56) and James Bracey (69) ushered Gloucestershire to 319 for eight against Sussex at Hove. Danny Lamb took three for 49 for the hosts.

Colin Ingram’s 69 not out rescued Glamorgan from 27 for four against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Ben Sanderson’s third wicket left the Welsh side on 96 for five but Ingram’s efforts and 50 from Dan Douthwaite helped them close on 203 for seven after 56.1 overs.

Leicestershire opener Marcus Harris’ unbeaten 77 got his side to 168 for two after 46 overs against Derbyshire at Derby.

Harry Brook will make his competitive comeback by appearing in Yorkshire’s first five games of the county season, with fellow England batter Joe Root joining him for four.

Brook has not played since December, having withdrawn from the Test tour of India and his planned stint at the Indian Premier League following the death of his grandmother Pauline.

Yorkshire had already indicated that the 25-year-old was likely to return early in the Vitality County Championship campaign and, following discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board, have now confirmed his schedule.

Brook is ready to feature for the White Rose throughout April and the beginning of May, starting at home to Leicestershire on April 5 and taking in fixtures against Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Derbyshire and Glamorgan.

Thereafter, he is due to link up with England for their T20 series against Pakistan and June’s T20 World Cup.

After failing to win promotion from Division Two last year, Yorkshire’s chances of making serious waves in the second tier this year are further enhanced by the presence of former Test captain Root.

Having played a full part in the two-month Test tour of India he will miss the curtain-raiser at Headingley but then links up with the side for their next four fixtures, as well as the visit to Northamptonshire on May 24.

Head coach Ottis Gibson, who needs to see some improved results following Darren Gough’s departure as director of cricket, had earlier trailed the pair’s availability, suggesting: “Having those two playing for us would be special.”

Harry Brook has withdrawn from the Indian Premier League in order to prioritise his mental wellbeing following the death of his grandmother.

The England and Yorkshire batter pulled out of England’s recent Test tour in India in January, citing personal reasons, and in a social media post revealed the reason at the time was because his grandmother “was ill and didn’t have long left”.

In a post on Instagram, the 25-year-old confirmed that he would not be joining up with Delhi Capitals, saying: “I can confirm that I have made the very difficult decision not to play in the upcoming IPL.

 

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“I was so excited to be picked by Delhi Capitals and was so looking forward to joining up with everyone.

“Whilst I don’t think I should need to share my personal reasons behind this decision, I know there will be many asking why. So I do want to share this.

“I lost my Grandmother last month – she was a rock to me and I spent a huge amount of my childhood in her home; my attitude to life and love for cricket was shaped by her and my late grandfather.”

Brook pulled out of England’s five-Test tour to India before the squad flew out from their training camp in the United Arab Emirates.

He added: “I made the decision to leave the India Test tour the night before we flew from Abu Dhabi to India because I was told for the first time that my grandmother was ill and didn’t have long left.

“Now that she has passed my family & I are grieving and I need to be around them.

“Over the last few years I have learned to prioritise my mental wellbeing and that of my family’s, honestly nothing is more important to me than family.

“So whilst this may come as surprising to some, I know it’s the right decision for me. I’m young and hope to have many, many more years of cricket to come which I intend to make the absolute most of.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I have received, especially from the ECB and Delhi Capitals, thank you.”

Brook, who has made four centuries in 12 Test appearances for England, played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL last season.

Delhi Capitals are due to play their first match of the new season against against Punjab Kings on March 23.

Batter Harry Brook is heading home from England’s Test tour of India for personal reasons and will not returning.

The 24-year-old will leave the squad, currently in Dubai preparing for the start of the first Test on Thursday, with immediate effect, the England and Wales Cricket Board have confirmed.

“The Brook family respectfully requests privacy during this time. 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,” said an ECB statement.

England’s selectors will confirm a replacement player for the tour in due course and they are likely to look to the Lions squad, who are currently in Ahmedabad.

Captain Josh Bohannon scored a century against India A last week, while other middle order options include James Rew and Dan Mousley.

In the short term for the first Test they may now play wicketkeepers Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes rather than having to choose between the two.

Phil Salt was taken aback at being overlooked in the Indian Premier League auction but used the snub as motivation to inspire England to a T20 series-levelling victory over the West Indies.

While England team-mates Chris Woakes and Harry Brook saw their bank balances given a healthy top-up after going under the hammer in Dubai on Tuesday, there were no takers for Salt among IPL franchises.

Salt made a couple of fifties in his debut season earlier this year, striking at 163.91 in nine matches for Delhi Capitals, so he was aggrieved to wake up in the Caribbean and find he had attracted no bids.

 

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But three days on from a match-winning century in Grenada, Salt thumped an England T20 record 119 off 57 balls in Trinidad as the tourists set up a winner-takes-all showdown at the same venue on Thursday.

“It was a confusing morning,” Salt said after England’s 75-run thumping win in the fourth T20. “I expected to be picked up, having gone there last year and done well and after the year that I’ve had.

“I was a bit confused but it can happen. It’s part of a lottery of an auction, it happens in draft processes as well. There’s no bad cricketers on the list at the IPL.

“There’s a few lads in our dressing room who are going to have a very good Christmas and I’m over the moon for them.

“We’re very lucky with what we do. There have been a few things recently that have maybe put it in perspective. I’m just here enjoying my cricket and cracking on.”

As for whether he channelled his frustration at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba to underpin England’s highest ever T20 total of 267 for three, Salt admitted his IPL omission may have played its part.

“It was probably a little bit of it, subconsciously,” he said, before reiterating: “I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be here playing cricket.”

The foundations for England’s gargantuan total were laid by a second successive century partnership between Salt and Jos Buttler, who contributed 55 to a 117-run stand in 9.5 overs before holing out.

Liam Livingstone thumped the last of England’s 20 sixes – equalling their record in T20s – with half of them coming from Salt, who is the first man from the country to make more than one ton in the format.

Salt opens the batting for Lancashire in the Vitality Blast and for Manchester Originals in The Hundred alongside England captain Buttler, who apparently keeps his junior partner in check.

“When we’re in the middle, it’s more getting me back in my box,” Salt said. “It’s either ‘you’re doing really well’ or ‘drop it down a gear’.

“We’ve had some good conversations away from the game, we’ve enjoyed spending time around each other as a group so we’re going nicely.”

The Windies were left with not much choice but to hit the ground running from ball one and while they themselves collected 14 sixes of their own, they were all out for 192 in 15.3 overs.

Reece Topley claimed three for 37 while there were a couple of wickets apiece for Sam Curran and Rehan Ahmed and one each for Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid as England levelled the series at 2-2.

“The boys have really pulled together and shown what a good team we are,” Salt added. “To win back-to-back games and force the decider in a couple of days’ time, I’m chuffed.”

Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have become the most expensive players ever sold at the Indian Premier League auction, smashing the record held by England all-rounder Sam Curran.

Starc has not played in the IPL since 2015 and the left-arm quick’s return to the fray drew a bidding war that ended in an unprecedented bid of £2.34million (24.75 crore rupees) from Kolkata Knight Riders.

Cummins had earlier been picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for just under £2million (20.5 crore), with both fees eclipsing the £1.77m Punjab Kings paid for Curran last year. Starc and Cummins had both signed up with a base price of less than £200,000.

Cummins is making his comeback to the tournament after a one-year absence to focus on his international commitments, during which he has captained Australia to glory in the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup on Indian soil.

While those successes placed a premium on the available Australian talent, England’s terrible World Cup campaign saw their stock fall on the trading floor in Dubai.

Veteran Chris Woakes landed a deal worth a fraction under £400,000 as he joined team-mates Curran and Liam Livingstone at Punjab Kings, while Harry Brook was snapped up for around £380,000 by Delhi Capitals.

Brook had been released after one season of a £1.3m deal with Sunrisers and the Yorkshireman settled for a healthy but much-reduced payday.

He hit one superb century in his first IPL campaign but was otherwise badly short of runs with just 190 in 11 matches.

Sunrisers also splurged on another Australian, Travis Head, who capped a stellar year with a match-winning 137 in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad. He cost around £645,000 (6.8 crore) as he returned to the tournament for the first time since 2017.

West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell was the first player to go under the hammer at the event in Dubai and fetched a surprisingly lavish £700,000 bid from Rajasthan Royals, while New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell scooped the biggest cheque of his career when he went to Chennai Super Kings for £1.3million.

CSK also signed Mitchell’s fellow Kiwi Rachin Ravindra, the breakout star of the World Cup, for a modest £170,000.

Australia captain Pat Cummins has landed a record £1.94million contract at the Indian Premier League auction with England pair Harry Brook and Chris Woakes picking up deals worth just under £400,000.

Cummins sat out the 2023 tournament to focus on international cricket but became even hotter property after leading his side to the World Test Championship and last month’s 50-over World Cup on Indian soil.

Four teams vied for the fast bowler’s signature and Sunrisers Hyderabad ended up paying 20.5 crore rupees, eclipsing the previous high of 18.5 crore (£1.77m) Punjab Kings paid for English all-rounder Sam Curran last year.

Cummins, 30, had entered with a base price of just under £200,000 and saw the bidding war up his fee by a factor of 10.

Sunrisers had plenty of budget to play with having released Brook after one season of a £1.3m deal, with the Yorkshireman picking up a healthy but much-reduced payday with the Capitals.

He hit one superb century in his first IPL campaign but was otherwise badly short of runs with just 190 in 11 matches.

Woakes was later drafted for just under £400,000 by Punjab, joining his England team-mates Curran and Liam Livingstone.

Sunrisers also splurged on Cummins’ fellow Australian Travis Head, who capped a stellar year with a match-winning 137 in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad. He cost around £645,000 (6.8 crore) as he returned to the tournament for the first time since 2017.

West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell was the first player to go under the hammer at the event in Dubai and fetched a surprisingly lavish £700,000 bid from Rajasthan Royals, while New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell scooped the biggest cheque of his career when he went to Chennai Super Kings for £1.3million.

CSK also signed Mitchell’s fellow Kiwi Rachin Ravindra, the breakout star of the World Cup, for a modest £170,000.

England batter Harry Brook has been signed by the Delhi Capitals for four crore rupees (around £380,000) at the Indian Premier League 2024 player mini auction.

The 24-year-old began his first IPL season with Sunrisers Hyderabad but will now make the switch to Delhi and was the second player to be auctioned behind West Indies batter Rovman Powell.

Last year, Sunrisers paid over £1.3million for Brook but he scored just 190 runs in 11 matches in the 2023 season.

Harry Brook insisted England can still salvage something from a chastening winter ahead of two crunch T20s against the West Indies.

England’s woeful group-stage exit at the World Cup was followed by an ODI reset getting off to a false start with a 2-1 defeat in the Caribbean, while they then lost T20s in Barbados and Grenada.

But Phil Salt’s maiden T20 hundred and Brook’s 31 not out off seven deliveries – thumping 24 off the final over – saw England chase down 223 on Saturday.

The tourists arrived in Trinidad on Sunday with hope renewed and Brook believes a pair of wins this week could do wonders for them a few months out from the T20 World Cup in the region.

Brook likened England’s predicament to last year’s series in Pakistan, where they came from behind to win 4-3 before sealing T20 World Cup glory.

“We’re a fair way away from the World Cup but these two games can make a big difference, especially getting the experience of these pitches and these crowds,” Brook said.

“We had it against Pakistan before the last T20 World Cup where we needed to win the last two games and we just tried to play them all like finals. We’ve got to do that for the rest of this series.

“We can take a lot of confidence from that win. You’ve got so much clarity chasing a big score like that, you know you’ve got to get out the blocks quickly.”

England were behind the eight ball at the start of the 20th over with the Windies calling upon Andre Russell, who has been confronted with this situation many times.

Requiring 21 to avoid losing the series and with Salt on 109 at the other end, Brook, on seven off two balls at the time, whipped the all-rounder fine for four.

Russell overcompensated by bowling too wide, allowing Brook to free his arms for a six over extra cover, before a full toss was larruped over the rope to leave England needing five off three balls.

The Yorkshireman clipped to midwicket for a couple before taking England to a seven-wicket victory in style by carving another wider delivery over backward point.

 

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“I’m just trying to be as cool as I can be,” Brook said. “I’m trying to be free-flowing – as soon as I get tensed up in any format, I’m never as good.

“It was really nice to go out there and finish it off. Hopefully I can do it plenty more times in my career.”

Brook has been conspicuously bowling a lot in net sessions, most notably attempting to improve his off-spin.

He memorably snared New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in Wellington earlier this year – so far his only Test wicket – but as a military medium-pacer.

While adding extra depth to England’s bowling is still a way off, Brook is optimistic of being able to turn his arm over in The Hundred for Northern Superchargers next year.

“It was jokey at the start but then I’ve actually started to get pretty good at it,” Brook added. “I’m just trying to work on it and see what can happen.

“The seamers are still there for Test cricket. But I am trying to look towards The Hundred. I might not bowl but it’s a little target I’ve got.”

Phil Salt’s maiden T20 century and Harry Brook’s nerveless batting at the death helped England reel in a mammoth 223, as they breathed fresh life into their five-match series against West Indies.

The hosts put on a six-hitting masterclass, as they cleared the rope 16 times and collected 79 runs in the last four overs, but they were upstaged as Salt underpinned England’s successful chase in Grenada.

On a hot and humid day, Salt belted half of England’s 18 sixes – a ground record in this format – as he recorded 109 not out off 56 deliveries, before Brook completed the seven-wicket win with a ball to spare.

Salt’s efforts left England needing 21 off the final over, and Brook followed up a four with three sixes in four balls off Andre Russell as the tourists narrowed the deficit to 2-1 in the five-match series.

Jos Buttler made 51 in a 115-run opening stand with Salt, who became just the fifth male from his country to record a T20 international hundred, while Liam Livingstone contributed a breezy 30 as England equalled their joint second highest chase in this format.

Scores: West Indies 222-6 (20 overs); England 226-3 (19.5 overs)

Earlier, Nicholas Pooran cracked six sixes and as many fours in a brilliant 82 off 45 balls to lead West Indies to what initially seemed a daunting total.

Holding a 2-0 lead at that point, the Windies were full of confidence and cleared the rope on 16 occasions, taking their tally across the three matches to 43 sixes.

Captain Rovman Powell belted 39 off 21 deliveries, while Sherfane Rutherford marked his first appearance of the series with 29 off 17.

Not even Adil Rashid was exempt from the carnage as he leaked 15 in his final offering, albeit having Pooran caught in the deep to finish with two for 32.

Reece Topley was magnificent up top in his first match back since a broken finger ended his World Cup early, taking one for 14 in three overs in the powerplay but he conceded 18 after being given the 20th.

Topley and Gus Atkinson were given their first outings as England shuffled their bowlers, with Chris Woakes and Rehan Ahmed left out, but it was a mixed bag from the tourists after winning the toss.

Rashid, Topley and Moeen Ali escaped most of the damage, but Tymal Mills went for 25 in the 17th over and Sam Curran 21 in the 19th – although he did claim a couple of wickets two days on from being belted for 30 in five legal deliveries.

Pooran steadied the Windies, after they lost both openers by the second over, then upped the ante after reaching a 37-ball fifty, taking 29 off his next eight deliveries before holing out off Rashid.

Harry Brook underscored England’s bid for regeneration with an important 71 but captain Jos Buttler’s lean run of form continued in their first ODI against the West Indies in Antigua.

A chastening World Cup campaign has ushered in a new era for England although it was largely the contributions of individuals out in India who had the biggest impact in the first of three ODIs.

Three weeks on from their final match in the subcontinent, Brook top-scored in England’s 325 all out, with all of their batters reaching double figures except for Buttler and number 11 Gus Atkinson.

Buttler had a torrid World Cup, averaging 15.33 without passing 50 once, and never got going in Antigua before being dismissed for three off 13 balls after gloving a reverse sweep to the lone slip.

Sam Curran and Brydon Carse put on 66 in 38 balls down the order to get England over 300 after they had slipped to 239 for seven against a new-look Windies side who failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Phil Salt gave England a turbocharged start with a boundary-laden 45 in 28 balls after winning the toss under sunny skies while the tourists went on to record the highest ODI score at this ground, helped by occasionally shoddy fielding from their opponents.

Salt wasted no time in settling, crashing five fours and three meaty leg-side sixes off fast bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Romario Shepherd, forcing Windies captain Shai Hope to turn to spin after six overs.

The change worked as Salt ended an electric innings in tame fashion. He has struggled against left-arm spin in the past and he was snared by Gudakesh Motie after backing away to leg and lofting to cover.

Will Jacks had been in Salt’s slipstream in a 77-run stand but still dispatched a 96-metre six arcing over cover, aided slightly by a breeze blowing across the ground, before nicking off as England’s openers departed in quick succession.

Conditions seemed to grow trickier, with the ball occasionally keeping low, as Test openers Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett attempted to build on England’s rapid start.

Duckett’s customary sweeps, both orthodox and reverse, came to the fore but he had his leg-stump pegged back by one that skidded on from leg-spinner Yannic Cariah, who should have had Crawley on 30 but a top-edged which looped gently to long-on was spilled by Motie, possibly unsighted by the sunshine.

Crawley was run out for 48 after setting off for a single, only to see Brook had not budged, allowing Hope to whip off the bails following Alick Athanaze’s throw from point.

Brook was initially quiet, nudging and nurdling 12 singles from his first 18 balls before reverse sweeping Motie for his first four. His second boundary was the result of more Windies misfielding as Keacy Carty got in a tangle and the ball sailed underneath his legs.

He kept England ticking over then accelerated after Buttler’s departure, clubbing Shepherd then Cariah for sixes. Cariah was also taken the distance twice by Livingstone in an over costing 23 but the England all-rounder fell for 17, trapped lbw by a grubber from Shepherd.

Brook was dropped at point on 70 but added just another run before being deceived by Shepherd’s pace-off delivery and thumping to mid-off.

At 239 for seven, England’s lower order had work to do but Sam Curran, who had a fringe role at the World Cup, and Carse, an unused squad member, helped the tourists finish with a flourish.

Both lower order batters cleared the rope twice to carry England beyond 300 before Curran was run out on 38. Carse was unbeaten on 31.

Jofra Archer, Harry Brook and Adil Rashid have joined the growing number of England players who will not take part in next year’s Indian Premier League.

Archer has been released by Mumbai Indians, along with his replacement Chris Jordan, while Brook and Rashid have been released by Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Archer took just two wickets in five matches for Mumbai earlier this year before being sidelined.

The 28-year-old returned to India to continue his rehabilitation from an elbow injury alongside England’s World Cup squad, but was not considered to replace Reece Topley after his fellow fast bowler suffered a broken finger.

England Test captain Ben Stokes announced on Thursday he would not be available for the IPL.

Stokes was purchased by Chennai Super Kings for £1.65million last December, but struggled with his fitness and played only twice for his new franchise in the 2023 tournament.

Stokes is due for surgery on a longstanding knee injury to ensure he is fit for England’s five-match Test series with India which begins in January.

Joe Root followed the lead of Stokes two days later, confirming he would not join up with a Rajasthan Royals squad which contains England white-ball captain Jos Buttler next year.

Dawid Malan knows that change is coming after England’s World Cup blowout and is realistic enough to accept that he could be swept away by the tide.

Malan has been one of the side’s strongest performers during a ragged title defence in India, scoring 373 runs at an average of 46.52, but at 36 years old looks vulnerable to a post-tournament cull.

A team loaded with thirty-somethings, including eight world champions from 2019, is likely to be broken up after one last outing against Pakistan at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Saturday, with the selectors set to look to the future.

Malan has more reason than most to resist. He spent years fighting for his opportunity and has put together an exceptional set of statistics in just 29 caps – only India’s Shubman Gill has ever scored more ODI runs with a better average and strike-rate – but is phlegmatic about his fate.

“Tomorrow could be my last game of cricket for England or it could still be the start of another journey. Who knows? We’ll only find out when the dust settles,” he said.

“I’m the second oldest in the squad…you’re quite realistic when you get to a certain stage. I don’t know what my future holds.

“Playing for England means everything for me. I’ve made no secret of that, I’ve always wanted to be part of this team for as long as I can but ultimately you get to a stage where you have to look a little bit further ahead and what’s best for the team. I guess there’s decisions to be made over the next couple of days and we’ll see where we end up.”

Malan last month signed a new one-year central contract which covers next summer’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States. But England’s desire for a fresh direction could prompt action in the shorter format too, and Malan hopes to get a clearer idea of his position from director of cricket Rob Key, who has just linked back up with the squad.

He is overseeing squad selection for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies and could also find himself in demand among players eager to find out where they stand.

“There could be a total overhaul for both (white-ball formats),” Malan said.

“I’ll probably have a chat with Rob in the next couple of days before I fly out, just to find out how he sees it and the direction he wants to go in. As long as people are honest, you can take that. And I’m pretty sure he will be. It’s been the hallmark of him since he’s taken over.”

When the fixtures were first released for the tournament, a final group game England versus Pakistan would have been highlighted as a contest with plenty of interest hanging on it ahead of the semi-finals.

Instead, it could prove a hollow excursion. England are only really playing for a place at the Champions Trophy in 18 months – which could be theirs even in defeat – while Pakistan need a historically ridiculous margin of victory to reach the knockouts.

“There’s massive regret from us all that we haven’t been able to perform as well as we would have liked,” Malan said of a campaign comprising six defeats and two wins.

“We’d have loved to be here at the business end, replicating what that fantastic team did in 2019 and what we did in the T20 World Cup in 2022, but it just hasn’t been like that and I think as a group reflecting on it, we’re extremely disappointed.”

England could hand Brydon Carse a first appearance of the tournament, with the Durham seamer one of those with a role to play in the rebuild, while Harry Brook should keep his place as a torch-bearer of the coming generation.

Malan is certain Brook is on course for a glittering future but urged against weighing his 24-year-old Yorkshire team-mate down with expectation.

“I feel like there’s been so much pressure put on Harry’s shoulders, almost as if he was the saviour of English cricket,” he said.

“The poor kid is still learning his way and he’s still trying to find his feet in international cricket and learn his game. Hopefully he learns from this as well and from all the pressure that’s been put on his shoulders, and he can find a way to keep getting better because I think he’s an exceptional talent.

“I can see him playing 100 games for England across all formats of the game and I hope he does. Harry is one of the quickest learners I’ve seen as a young player and hopefully he can keep learning and hit those heights that we all know he’s capable of achieving.”

England’s early exit from the World Cup is already guaranteed but assistant coach Carl Hopkinson insists their bottom-of-the-table clash against the Netherlands is no “dead rubber”.

As the tournament finally edges towards the business end, the defending champions have long since become an afterthought in the wider context of the competition.

They have lost six of their seven games and saw their last mathematical chance of a miracle wiped off the table by rivals Australia in Ahmedabad last week.

The best they can hope for now is avoiding a first ever ODI defeat to the Dutch, the only associate nation competing in India, and keep their prospects of reaching the 2025 Champions Trophy alive.

They need a top-eight finish to book their spot, meaning there is no leeway for wallowing in their dreadful form when they take the field in Pune on Wednesday.

The appearance of Hopkinson, a low-key member of the backroom team responsible primarily for fielding, suggested the squad were not keen on issuing their own public call to arms, but he has no qualms about their motivation.

“I don’t think there’s ever a dead rubber when you play for England, to be honest. I think the lads are completely up for it,” he said.

“We’ve got two games in which we need to win both to qualify for the Champions Trophy, so I think that’s there for everybody to see. The guys are going to be obviously up for it and I think we’ll be good.

“We need to win and win well to qualify for the Champions Trophy, which is what we need to do.”

On his unexpected role as carrier of the England message, he added: “I’m not quite sure why I’m the man to explain, (but) I’m an assistant coach with the England team and I’m more than happy to come out and speak about our campaign so far.”

England have named an unchanged side for the last three games, losing emphatically to Sri Lanka, India and Australia, and could belatedly mix things up.

Harry Brook is on hand to add ballast to a badly under-performing top six, but could be added in place of all-rounder Liam Livingstone rather than one of the specialist batters.

Livingstone adds an extra spin option but has not been able to carry his share of the run-scoring load, with just 60 runs in six innings.

Pace bowler Mark Wood, who has been managing a sore knee, could also miss out with Brydon Carse and Gus Atkinson snapping at his heels for a chance.

Wood is the fastest seamer in the squad by a distance, consistently clearing 90mph, but has struggled to keep a lid on his economy rate and has only six wickets at 58.16.

Carse and Atkinson are both likely to form part of England’s white-ball future, leaving captain Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott to decide whether now is the time to blood them in a game with live stakes.

Ben Stokes’ fitness was under observation on the eve of the match, with the Test captain carrying various niggles. He missed the first three games here with a hip problem and is set to undergo surgery on his long-standing left-knee injury when he gets back to England.

Former England quick Steve Harmison told the PA news agency this week that the team management should instruct Stokes to leave the camp and go home early in a bid to fast-track his recovery for the new-year Test series in India.

But Hopkinson suggested that idea was not under consideration.

“Knowing Ben, he’ll want to try and play the next game in front of him and try and win that for England,” he said.

“He’s about winning games of cricket for England, so I’d imagine that’s what he’ll be thinking about first and foremost.

“Once he’s obviously made that decision to have the operation, that’s obviously booked in and that’s what he’s going to do, but it’s not before this tournament finishes.”

Mark Wood has denied England were sidetracked by contract negotiations at the World Cup but admitted performances need to improve to live up to the new terms.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has revamped its central contract system in a bid to ward off the growing threat from T20 franchises, handing out long-term deals for the first time in addition to the usual annual extensions.

Wood was one of three players to sign a lucrative three-year term, having previously admitted that a huge offer to play in the United Arab Emirates was testing his resolve, with Joe Root and Harry Brook following suit.

The ECB hoped to have agreements in place before the tournament in India but, while some were finalised swiftly, others dragged on into the campaign and the announcement was finally made last week.

By then England had already played four times, losing three, and things have continued to veer off course, leaving the defending champions rock bottom in 10th place after six rounds.

Wood does not believe the two issues are linked but acknowledges the timing of England’s unexpected dip in results has not been helpful.

“I don’t think they were a distraction, no,” he said.

“If we’re trying to look for excuses, I think players need to look at themselves a little bit more, me included.

“But we’ve not lived up to that reward of the contract. I can understand people’s frustration. I would totally get that.

“Obviously when lads are rewarded with things and then they don’t perform at the level that you think, that’s justified. But it’s not through lack of trying. We are trying our hardest to get this right.

“There’s no cracks in the group. There’s no falling out. Everyone is generally trying to do it for each other. We believe in each other. It’s just not happening the way we want.”

Wood was honest about his own status, insisting that turning out for his country remained his primary motivation while acknowledging the financial muscle being flexed by franchise owners.

At 33, and with a long history of fitness issues behind him, he sought security and was pleased to see the ECB provide it.

“My motivation has always been to play for England. That was always what I’ve wanted to do as a kid growing up. That’s the pinnacle for me, so I’m delighted with the deal,” he said.

“I had some positive conversation with (ECB managing director of men’s cricket) Rob Key, to see if he wanted me to stay in the team or what he envisioned for me going forward with England.

“He said that I was part of the plans and I’m obviously delighted to have signed three years. It gives me security for me and my family.

“But I would definitely have had to consider (franchise offers), which is why I had lots of conversations with Keysy behind the scenes.

“As an injury-prone lad, if I ever have trouble, I’ll be well looked after by England physios.

“If you’re effectively self-employed, you go to these teams and say ‘Who wants me?’. But if I have a bad season or you get a bad injury, who then looks after you? So now I’m looked after by England and employed by England.”

England’s next match sees them take on Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday, a renewal of hostilities between the old rivals after a tense Ashes summer.

Wood excelled for England in the series, helping inspire his side to a 2-2 draw after coming into the side 2-0 down.

Australia head into the match as favourites given England’s recent struggles and their own strong form, but Wood is still hoping to shift the balance.

“It’s completely different conditions, different players, different timing, different form (from the Ashes) but we’ve played against them for years,” he said.

“In one-day cricket, we’ve done well against them in recent times. I don’t think they’ll be going into this game pooing their pants, but it’s up to us to change that.”

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