YORKSHIRE captain Andrew Gale has described Jack Brooks as “a real asset” to the county as the fast bowler prepares to face his old club Northamptonshire in the LV= County Championship at Headingley tomorrow.
The 29-year-old from Oxford left Wantage Road after three seasons of first-class cricket to join the White Rose county ahead of 2013.
Brooks, who only debuted in first-class cricket in 2009 aged 25, has played in friendly matches against Northants in each of the last two pre-seasons.
He had a productive first campaign with Yorkshire last summer thanks to 34 Championship wickets in 11 matches added to 13 from eight in Twenty20 - although he was frustrated by six weeks out with a broken thumb from May onwards.
The ex-England Lion returned figures of 1-92 from 23 overs in this week’s draw against Somerset at Taunton.
“I think Jack did really well last year,” said Gale. “He was a bit unlucky with injury when he broke his thumb because he was just about hitting his straps.
“He’s still got a bit of work to do on consistency, but he’s been a lad who’s fitted in really well. He’s a real asset to us.
“His career suggests he got injured quite a bit when he was at Northants, and that was a bit of a concern when we signed him. He got injured last year with his broken thumb, but it wasn’t an injury to his Achilles that he’s had in the past.
“He’s definitely got fitter and stronger since he’s been here, and he takes good care of himself.
“He can come on and change the game in one spell. He bowls a quick, heavy ball.”
It has not been the easiest of pre-seasons for Northants, who had two overseas players in Jackson Bird and Rory Kleinveldt pull out of contracts due to injury and batsman Alex Wakely ruled out for the season with a torn Achilles.
But last summer’s promotion winners were boosted as they just hung on to draw against champions Durham at Wantage Road earlier this week.
Gale added: “I think they’re a strong group. We saw them last week for the friendly, and they seem like they’re onto something good at the minute. They’ve got a good team spirit, and they’ve got a good coach (David Ripley) who has brought them all together.
“They’re a workmanlike side who performed against the odds and got up last year. They’ve had a tough winter, but we expect a very tough game.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon says Joe Root’s recovery from his broken thumb is going smoothly.
He added: “Joe is making significant progress. He has started to bat against seam bowling, so he has upped his ability to bat from just spin to all types of bowling. He is also starting to catch tennis balls.
“If he has a good week, we will assess where he is at. He won’t be too far away from playing again.”
Tim Bresnan is also expected to be available to play in early May - a week later than Root - after being ordered to rest by the ECB following his winter programme.
Yorkshire 12-man squad (v Northants): Gale (c), Ashraf, Ballance, Brooks, Hodd (wkt), Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Sidebottom, Williamson.