Eying off the classic defensive stance of the batter, the young leg spinner delivered his first ball. He knew immediately it had perfect flight, the ball fizzed through the air, biting hard off the pitch it turned sharply past the edge of the bat. Steve Waugh looked up and fixed his steely glare on the bowler as he reset.
Tom Brooks was eleven years old, and the action took place in the cricket net he built out the back of the Brooks family farm at Scone, three hours drive from Sydney.
“I was immediately impressed by his ball flight and the turn he got on the ball” Waugh said of his first experience with Tom.
“I then went away to school at St Ignatius college Riverview”, says Brooks “As I’m from the country I would always prioritise my commitments at home before my cricket”. However, at age 15 I made it into the Riverview First X1”.
His coach at Riverview, the esteemed James Rodgers, stated that “in 40 years of Brooks was easily best bowler I have coached” Brooks was already playing against the men’s country sides from age 10, and after school finished Brooks was drafted straight into First Grade in Sydney, with Wests. Last year, his second season his figures showed his development with 31 Wickets at an average 24. Tom is mentored in his craft by ex-Test Spinner Kerry O’Keefe.
“Playing grade cricket, I travel down on a Friday night and go home on a Sunday night after play, and help around the farm, as it holds a close place to my heart” says Tom
In January 2022, Steve Waugh introduced Tom to Sir Ian Botham, and pushed forward the idea of a summer stint in the UK. Botham was straight into it, fixing up Tom, now 21, With Richmondshire CC, in North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket Leagues.
Joining Richmondshire XI and nicknamed “Warnie” by his team-mates, Tom helped the Team win two championships, with 77 wickets at 19.38 and a best of 6/35, and a batting average of 29.83 with a strike rate of 131.62.
“I have a massive opportunity to pursue my cricket and now I have decided to give it a serious go” says Tom.