JACK BROOKS is on the verge of 50 LV= County Championship wickets in a season for the first time in his career, but the Yorkshire seamer has set his sights much higher as the summer reaches a climax.
Brooks, in his second season as a Yorkshire player, is just one wicket shy of the notable milestone, the benchmark for any bowler at the start of a four-day campaign.
The most he has got in a summer prior to this was 43 in 2011, although the ex-Northamptonshire man has sailed beyond that mark in leading his second county to a five-point lead over Nottinghamshire at the top of division one with four matches left to play.
Brooks’ success has been brought into focus all the more with the arrival of Sussex at Scarborough for today’s four-day clash because their star bowler Steve Magoffin is the only bowler in the top flight with more wickets.
The race to be the leading wicket-taker in the division currently stands as Australian Magoffin on 51, Brooks on 49 and Lancashire’s Tom Smith on 48.
“Magoffin’s a proven campaigner who’s probably a 70-wicket a season man anyway if he bowls and plays every game,” said 30-year-old Brooks.
“If we finish the season as champions and I can get 70 wickets or so, that would just about be the perfect season for me. There’s a long way to go, but that’s very realistic.
“I’m in decent form with the white and red ball at the minute. I’ve had a decent run in the 50-over comp.
“I know my role, and I’ve been getting into good rhythm. Hopefully I can take that back into four-day cricket now.
“I’ve always known I’m capable of this kind of form, it’s just been about staying fit.
“Being part of a successful side helps your own game as well. The batsmen tend to score more runs and the bowlers get more wickets.”
Jason Gillespie has named a 12-man squad for today’s clash. It is unchanged from their last Championship match, a win over Middlesex at Scarborough a month ago in which Brooks took three second-innings wickets.
Sussex sit fifth in division one having won four of their 12 matches, including their last two against Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.
The reverse fixture between Yorkshire and Sussex at Arundel in mid-June was a high-scoring draw played out on a flat pitch.
“If Arundel was a normal Championship wicket, I don’t think I’d be playing professional cricket because I wouldn’t be getting many wickets,” added Brooks, who only struck twice in the first innings.
“It’s good here at Scarborough because you get pace and carry in the pitch, and it’s a fast-scoring ground.
“It’s good for the batsmen as well, but if you get it in good areas, then you can pick up wickets.”
Yorkshire 12-man squad: Gale (capt), Bairstow (wkt,) Bresnan, Brooks, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Pyrah, Rashid, Sidebottom, Williamson.