Watch the fourth T20I between Pakistan and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 3pm on Sunday. Harry Brook scored a T20I career-high 81 as England crushed Pakistan on Friday. Nasser Hussain believes Brook has done enough to earn his spot in England’s T20 World Cup XI.

Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain

According to Nasser Hussain, Harry Brook is “nailed on” to play for England in the T20 World Cup’s opening match after his outstanding efforts against Pakistan.

As Brook scored an unbeaten 81 from just 35 balls to lead England to a convincing victory against Pakistan on Friday, he reached his first T20I half-century.

The 23-year-old Yorkshire batsman also contributed a crucial 42 runs without being out to help England win the first encounter of the seven-match series. However, he only managed 31 runs in a losing effort in the second game.

With players like Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone unavailable, as well as skipper Jos Buttler who has yet to play in the series due to a calf injury, England is fielding an inexperienced team in Pakistan.

By the time England faces Afghanistan in their T20 World Cup opener on October 22, all three should be back in Matthew Mott’s XI.

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“In that first World Cup game, in Perth against Afghanistan, Brook must be penciled in at No 5,” former England captain Hussain said. “He’s a serious talent.

Harry Brook
Harry Brook

“Harry Brook is just going to be a superstar in all formats, he really is. His run-getting over the last couple of years at Yorkshire has been prolific and I think it will continue to be.

“His all-around-the-ground hitting is a key point. Some players will target the leg side, but if you bowl outside off to him, he’ll go over extra cover as well, so there’s no area that you’re safe.

“He’s 360 but in a different way. Like most players now he’s got fast hands, he never really loses his shape, and he continues to be consistent.”

Hussain added that England should resist the temptation to attempt to move Brook any higher in the batting order than the No 5 position from which he has been excelling.

“Batting at five is not an easy position to come in,” he said. “You ask anyone in white-ball cricket where you like to bat then it’s in the top two or three, as you’re batting in the power play and you’re already in when spin comes on and the pace is coming off the ball.

“Every time he has been coming in at five, he has been prolific and consistent, because he has done it before at Yorkshire.

“Going into this series you were looking at how we get Brook into the starting XI, but I can’t see how you can leave him out now. I really can’t, he’s that good of a player and he’s very good on the field as well.

“I think, for me, he’s absolutely nailed-on for that No 5 spot for the first game in that World Cup.”

The returning Mark Wood, who made his first appearance since March after recovering from an injury, was England’s best player with the ball in their triumph on Friday.

Babar Azam, the captain of Pakistan, and fellow top-order hitter Haider Ali were both critical victims of Wood’s quick bowling, which reached speeds of up to 97 mph, at the beginning of the home team’s innings.

Although Wood’s return is a major plus for England, Hussain has cautioned that the 32-year-old needs to be carefully managed up until the World Cup.

Harry Brook
Harry Brook

“England is a better side in any format with Mark Wood in the team,” Hussain said. “You need that pace, and he’s got express pace, but he’s got accuracy with it as well.

“Everyone focuses in on the 97mph, but…the players nowadays, if that’s wide they’ll just flay you over point for six, over the third man they’ll upper-cut you. He’s accurate; he’s right in at you.

“He’ll need managing. It may be game on, game off, but you don’t want him ready for Karachi on Sunday, you want him ready for Afghanistan in Perth.

“There’s no point in pushing him. He’s a racehorse; they don’t come around too often these sorts of cricketers, so you really have to take care of them.”

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