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Harry Brook inching closer to England World Cup call-up


Harry Brook has inched another step closer to gatecrashing England's World Cup squad after being handed a late call-up for this week's ODI series against New Zealand.

Brook's hopes of making next month's tournament plummeted when he was surprisingly omitted from the original 15-man squad, but England's resolve has been tested ever since that selection was made public.

With Brook offering several timely reminders of his quality, first with a blistering century in The Hundred, then with two dashing T20 knocks against the Black Caps, there has been a growing clamour for a rethink before the September 28 deadline.

Now he has been drafted as batting cover for the four-match series, which begins in Cardiff on Friday, giving him another potential opportunity to nail down a spot in India.

Dawid Malan is considered the most vulnerable of the specialist batters, the form of all-rounder Liam Livingstone has started to come under scrutiny and England are also being cautious over Jonny Bairstow's fitness.

He experienced pain in his right shoulder while batting in Tuesday's final T20 against New Zealand and did not emerge to keep wicket at Trent Bridge.

Although the issue is not thought be a serious concern, it offers another reason for Brook to remain with the group should extra batting be required.

Despite his fast-growing reputation across all formats, Brook has just three ODI caps to his name.

There is, though, the chance for him to top up his 50-over experience after he was also listed for the season-ending series against Ireland.

England have named a shadow squad to face their near neighbours, with none of their current World Cup contingent involved.

Ashes star Zak Crawley has been named as captain of a much-changed side, with Test opening partner Ben Duckett his deputy.

There are three uncapped players, with Warwickshire's Sam Hain, Surrey's highly-rated wicketkeeper-batter Jamie Smith and Derbyshire seamer George Scrimshaw all promoted.

Phil Salt, Matthew Potts and Craig Overton also get the nod to take on the Irish, with England exploring their bench strength at the end of a busy international summer.

England's Australian head coach Matthew Mott paved the way for Brook to break into the World Cup picture, making it clear the matter was not yet settled.

Speaking to BBC Radio's Test Match Special after Tuesday's T20 at Trent Bridge, he said: "There is the opportunity to make changes right up until the tournament.

"It is still open for debate and there will be plenty of good cricket played in the next month so we'll see what that squad ends up looking like."

England ODI squad to face Ireland: Z Crawley (c), R Ahmed, H Brook, B Carse, B Duckett, S Hain, W Jacks, C Overton, M Potts, P Salt, G Scrimshaw, J Smith, L Wood.