Jonny Bairstow, England’s Last All-Format Player Standing, at the Moment: 2022

Jonny Bairstow is back for England, in all three formats.

  • admin | May 31, 2022 | 11:06 pm

Jonny Bairstow has been through a grueling year and is now one of the last members standing across formats in a tough year. Over his career, Jonny Bairstow has gone through many highs and lows, but the last year was probably his most dynamic. He was dropped from the Test side, leaving chances of a comeback very minimal, especially given his involvement in England’s white-ball set-up. With the white-ball team, for a long time, Jonny Bairstow has had to move around the order to facilitate Jos Buttler at the top, and has adjusted in the Test batting line-up as well over the years.

Jonny Bairstow is the only player who has played in all of England’s recent tours, including the UAE tour, Ashes and the West Indies tour. Considering he was dropped from the Test team last year, his recent resurgence is very impressive. He has moulded himself into one of England’s most important middle-over batters and has been on a relentless journey over the year.

His journey started with the T20 World Cup as he was a vital clog of the middle-order there. He went on an Ashes tour, stayed on the bench until the fourth Test, made a comeback and a crucial century to help England avoid an Ashes whitewash, and then went to the Caribbean, again making some valuable runs there.

He has jumped from bubble to bubble, hardly getting any time out of the bio-secure environment. Following the West Indies series, he jumped straight into the IPL, and barely days after the tournament he will be seen in another Test series against New Zealand.

His schedule has made him the busiest Cricketers in the England cricket team, as Jonny Bairstow jumps from one format to another. With England worried about workload management, they took the decision of splitting their coaches across formats.

With separate squads playing in the Netherlands limited overs series and New Zealand Tests, England are finding a way to allow their players to focus on a certain format rather than having them play in multiple formats with little breaks in between.

Jonny Bairstow though, continues to be busy. He was a highly sought player in the IPL and with a high paycheck and a central role in the side he couldn’t shy away from playing the whole tournament for the Punjab Kings. Bairstow was in good form as well during the season, with a slow start batting at four and then a rapid rise to form after moving to the top of the order. He is now back in the Test side, gearing up for the New Zealand Tests, and is unlikely to take a break anytime soon despite a tough schedule.

His schedule though comes as a sign of difference in the England side. Over the last two years, the English Cricket Board has been so concerned about resting their players, and rotating to avoid fatigue. Despite their efforts, England lost almost all the pacers who played Test Cricket for them in the last year due to injury, they had Ben Stokes go on a mental break and Joe Root step down from captaincy.

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Despite all going on, Jonny Bairstow continues to be a direct pick across formats. The others with potentially long schedules are Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Ben Stokes though, has ruled himself out of white-ball cricket this summer in order to focus on his Test captaincy, while Jos Buttler has been dropped from the Test side, and will have to fight for a comeback again.

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To add to Jonny Bairstow’s workload, there is a likely chance of him taking the gloves, despite the presence of Ben Foakes. As a player his role has been tinkered a lot and taking the gloves can be another adjustment that he’d have to make after the role was taken away from him a few years ago. Workload or not though, one thing for sure is that Jonny Bairstow has been one of England’s best Test batters in the last six months.

With centuries in Australia and West Indies, he still has it in him to defy bowling attacks and attack with responsibility down the order. He knows how to bat with the tail better than anyone in the side, and his experience will be key for England if they are to start their red-ball resurgence.