Bairstow ready to move on up

2016-05-23 21:42
Jonny Bairstow (AP Photo)

London - England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow is ready to move up the order if required for the second Test against Sri Lanka as his coach at Yorkshire, Jason Gillespie, compared him to Australia great Adam Gilchrist.

With Ben Stokes ruled out of the match at his Durham home ground because of a left knee injury suffered during England's crushing innings and 88-run victory in the first Test at Headingley, the home side will have to make at least one change to their team when the second of a three-match series starts in Chester-le-Street on Friday.

Bairstow made 140 batting at number seven at Headingley, his Yorkshire home ground, to lay the platform for England's win and also held nine catches behind the stumps.

England must decide whether to select Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes, called into the squad on Monday before taking a career-best nine for 46 against Durham at Edgbaston, as a like for like replacement for Stokes or give a debut to Nottinghamshire seamer Jake Ball.

As for his position in England's batting order, Bairstow said: "I'll bat wherever.

"(Number five) is the position I bat for Yorkshire and keep wicket -- so if that opportunity comes up, it comes up.

"I'm happy at seven."

There has been repeated talk that England could fit both one-day keeper Jos Buttler and Bairstow into the same Test side by having the Yorkshireman give up the gloves.

But the 26-year-old Bairstow, the son of former Yorkshire and England wicket-keeper David Bairstow, has had enough of such talk.

"As I've said numerous times before, I wouldn't have kept wicket for Yorkshire for seven years if I didn't want to keep wicket for England," he insisted.

But having been dropped several times by England, Bairstow is determined not to take his current good form for granted.

"Form can be taken from you very quickly," he said.

"At this moment in time, I'm feeling good, happy with the way I'm striking the ball and with my movement.

"Let's hope that can continue, well ... for the next 15 years!"

Meanwhile Gillespie, writing in the London Evening Standard, said: "Jonny Bairstow can do the same job for England that Adam Gilchrist did for Australia over so many years, without a doubt. Why not

"I don't usually like comparing players, but you see glimpses of what Gilly used to do in Jonny's performance for England in the Headingley Test against Sri Lanka," added the former Australia fast bowler, who played international cricket alongside free-scoring keeper Gilchrist.

"Batting at No7, he scored 140 of England's first-innings total of 298. That's nearly half the team's runs -- and don't forget that he came in when they were in a spot of bother, at 83 for five."

Bairstow's early days in international cricket saw his batting technique called into question but Gillespie, Yorkshire's first team coach since 2011, said: "At Yorkshire, we never had any doubts but I said to him, 'I give you my word that nobody at the club will talk to you about your technique unless you come to us with a specific area to look at. We will judge you purely on how many runs you score'.

"I haven't spoken to him about his batting since - apart from to say, 'Well done' most of the time.

"But the credit must go to Jonny. He has turned himself into a fine cricketer.

"Since making his Test debut in 2012, Jonny has been left out of by England four times, for various reasons.

"It really does test your character but now he is benefiting from knowing that captain Alastair Cook, coach Trevor Bayliss and the selectors back him completely."

Read more on:    england  |  jonny bairstow  |  cricket

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