Andrew Gale backs unlucky Jonny Bairstow to seize England ODI chance when it comes

ON THE OUTSIDE: Yorkshire's Jonathan Bairstow. Picture: SWPix.com
ON THE OUTSIDE: Yorkshire's Jonathan Bairstow. Picture: SWPix.com
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YORKSHIRE first team coach Andrew Gale has described Jonny Bairstow as “a victim of circumstance”.

Gale believes that Bairstow is unfortunate not to be a regular in England’s one-day side.

England captain Eoin Morgan has confirmed that Bairstow’s likeliest route into the Champions Trophy starting line-up is through injury to someone else.

And Gale sympathises with both the selectors and the player.

“I’d love to see Jonny in that team, but it looks like they’ve got a pretty settled batting line-up at the moment,” he said.

“He’s just a victim of circumstance, I suppose.

England's Jonny Bairstow on his way to scoring 72 against Ireland earlier this month. Picture: John Walton/PA

England's Jonny Bairstow on his way to scoring 72 against Ireland earlier this month. Picture: John Walton/PA

“He’s in unbelievable form, but I just can’t see where they’re going to squeeze him in.

“I’m his coach, and I want to see him play for England, and if there’s anyone who’s going to pump his tyres up it’s me, but it’s a tough one on Jonny and tough for the selectors.”

Bairstow is battling to force his way into a batting line-up of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

Unless England decide to leave out Moeen Ali and play one spinner in Adil Rashid, thus creating room for a seventh batsman, it is difficult to see how Bairstow would play.

The fact is, Jonny is fighting against one of the world’s best players in Joe Root at three, then Morgan, Buttler and Stokes, and it’s pretty hard to see where he can slot in.

Andrew Gale on Jonny Bairstow

Morgan, however, has effectively ruled out that move, with the only other option being to drop Roy or Hales and play Bairstow as an opener, a role that he has been performing for Yorkshire in the Royal London Cup.

However, England would be unlikely to do that so close to the tournament, with only a loss of form potentially opening the door.

“I think his way in for me is opening the batting to push Roy or Hales out of the side,” said Gale.

“The fact is, Jonny is fighting against one of the world’s best players in Joe Root at three, then Morgan, Buttler and Stokes, and it’s pretty hard to see where he can slot in.

Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Yorkshire coach, Andrew Gale. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“However, if someone does get injured or drops out of form for a couple of games, you can bet your bottom dollar that Jonny would come in and do well.

“You never know, between now and the first game in the Champions Trophy, there might be an injury and he might get a chance,” he added.

Bairstow plays his final Royal London Cup group match when Yorkshire take on Warwickshire tomorrow, with England then departing for a Champions Trophy training camp in Spain.

He then potentially has three more one-day internationals to press his case when England face South Africa before the Champions Trophy begins on June 1.

Gale, who will also have Root, Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey available at Edgbaston tomorrow, is looking forward to the tournament, which is effectively a mini World Cup.

He believes that England have an excellent chance of winning the trophy.

“England have got as good a chance as I’ve ever seen to win a major tournament with the way that they’re playing and the players that they’ve got,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say that they are strong favourites, but they’re definitely up there and have got a great chance.

“You can’t underestimate the Aussies and India as well, of course.

“It’s foreign conditions to the Indians, but they’re so explosive on the day and have got plenty of match-winners, so you can’t write them off.

“I think it would be great for English cricket if we could win this tournament on our own patch.

“I think it would be great for the game, it would give the sport a big lift, and I’d love to see England lifting that trophy.

“Obviously, it’s great to have so many Yorkshire players involved, and hopefully they can play an important part.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes.”

With their England players available for most of the Royal London Cup so far, Gale’s men have been irresistible in sweeping to the top of the North Group with five wins from six games.

They may already have done enough to guarantee 
qualification, but one more win tomorrow would confirm it and put them through ahead of their final group game against Leicestershire at Headingley on Tuesday.

Yorkshire squad versus Warwickshire: Ballance (captain), Bairstow, Bresnan, Coad, Fisher, Handscomb, Leaning, Lyth, Plunkett, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Waite, Willey.

Cleckheaton captain John Wood. PIC: Paul Butterfield

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