Harry Brook has withdrawn from England’s Test squad to tour India for personal reasons. He is set to miss the start of the five-Test series, with England calling up Dan Lawrence as his replacement.
The team were due to arrive in Hyderabad on Sunday, ahead of the start of the first Test on Thursday, but Brook will no longer be with the party having travelled home from the team’s training camp in the UAE instead.
The ECB said in a statement: “Harry Brook is set to return home with immediate effect for personal reasons from the England Men’s Test tour of India. 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.”
Although officially ruled out of the entire tour, ESPNcricinfo understands that Brook could still return at a later date.
The loss of Brook comes as a significant blow to England’s attempts to become the first team to win a Test series in India in more than a decade. Since making his debut in the final Test of the 2022 summer, he has averaged 62.15, at a strike rate of 91.76, from 12 appearances, with four hundreds.
He was briefly promoted to No. 3 during the Ashes, after Ollie Pope suffered a series-ending shoulder injury, before Moeen Ali moved up as a stopgap. Pope is fit to return in India, meaning England will have to rethink their middle order.
Brook’s absence could see England deploy Jonny Bairstow as a specialist batter once again, filling the gap at No. 5, with Ben Foakes available to keep wicket.
Lawrence, the spare batter with the Test squad last summer, had only recently arrived in the UAE for the ILT20 after a stint at the Big Bash League, but will make his way to India in the next couple of days. Lawrence’s last Test appearance came in March 2022, on the tour of the Caribbean, shortly before the dual appointments of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes as coach and captain helped to revitalise the side.
There are also a number of back-up options among the England Lions party currently in India, Josh Bohannon, in particular, impressing with a century in Ahmedabad earlier this week.
England will train at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday, having spent the last ten days in Abu Dhabi acclimatising for the tour.