Jonny Bairstow expresses longing for keeping wickets: The English wicket-keeper batsman had last kept wickets during the Ashes last year.
England wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow is among the 55 players who have officially resumed training post the COVID-19 lockdown.
Bairstow, 30, played his last Test against South Africa earlier this year. Having played as a specialist batsman, Bairstow wasn’t asked to keep wickets – a role which he has played in 48 out of his 70 Test so far.
Bairstow, who got dropped from the Test team after last year’s Ashes, has expressed pleasure with his batting after resuming practice. In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, Bairstow further spoke about how skipping the tour of Sri Lanka helped him in gaining freshness.
“I’m pleased with the way my batting has been going. I’ve been facing the dogstick and I’ve had a few sessions with the bowling machine. It’s been good to groove my technique. There have always been challenges that have been asked – whether keeping wicket or batting in certain positions – and I’d like to think I’ve risen to those challenges.
“Not going to Sri Lanka, I felt I needed a bit of a break because I had something like six nights at home from October until February. That naturally takes its toll so I think it came at a decent time and there will be a freshness coming back in. It’s been a good break. I’ve been able to refresh and reset mentally,” Bairstow said.
Jonny Bairstow expresses longing for keeping wickets
Two years before from the date he had played his last Test, Bairstow had scored 957 runs in 20 matches at an average of 27.34 and a strike rate of 51.17 including two centuries and three half-centuries to be the second-highest run-scorer among wicket-keepers in the given time period.
“Over a period of time, I’ve been really happy with my keeping. That was the part of my game which, at the start of my career, people questioned. But people have stopped speaking about it over the last couple of years. My stats are very good. So there’s no reason why that isn’t an area I want to be coming back into,” Bairstow added.
Expressing disappointment at losing the gloves to limited-overs vice-captain Jos Buttler, Bairstow reiterated his record with the gloves and hoped of getting a chance as a specialist wicket-keeper batsman against West Indies.
“I was disappointed to lose the gloves at the time. My stats were very good and I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong with my keeping. I was getting complimented highly by people on that.
“When you think about getting back in you can only be judged on your last performances and I like to think they were good. I hope they will get me back in the side as long as I score enough runs,” Bairstow further said.
Likely to announce a 30-member squad today, Bairstow will be contesting against Buttler and Ben Foakes for a Test spot in the final XI. Admitting that the three-day warm-up match starting from July 2 holds the key, Bairstow’s performance with the bat is likely to decide his involvement with the gloves.