A man for all formats - England urged to utilise Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow more

Jonny Bairstow, in action during the fourth Test match against India in Mumbai last month. Picture: AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool.
Jonny Bairstow, in action during the fourth Test match against India in Mumbai last month. Picture: AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool.
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YORKSHIRE boss Martyn Moxon believes that Jonny Bairstow’s talents are wasted if he is not playing in all three formats of international cricket.

Moxon feels that the Yorkshire star should be a regular in England’s Test, one-day and T20 sides.

Jonny Bairstow in ODI action against Bangladesh in Dhaka in October last year. Picture: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad.

Jonny Bairstow in ODI action against Bangladesh in Dhaka in October last year. Picture: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad.

Bairstow is now a guaranteed starter in the Test XI having cemented his place as a batsman/wicketkeeper.

But he remains on the edge of the one-day and T20 teams, with only injuries to other players currently giving him a route into the side.

“With the form that he’s in and the destruction that he can cause, it does seem a waste if he’s sat on his bum,” said Moxon, the club’s director of cricket.

“I could be seen as being biased, but that is just my honest opinion.

“It’s difficult to know what more he can do, I suppose.

“He was brought in at the Riverside (against New Zealand in 2015), got runs and was then left out.

“He does seem to have to prove himself over and over.

“Jonny’s had to fight a lot during his career, and you can’t do any more than get runs when you are picked.

“That’s the thing from his point of view.

“All Jonny can do now is score runs, and he tends to do that a lot these days.”

Despite throwing his support behind the player, who has come of age as an international cricketer in the past 12 months, Moxon empathises with an England hierarchy that has an embarrassment of riches at its disposal.

That Bairstow is not a guaranteed starter in limited-overs cricket speaks volumes for the strides that England have taken since the 2015 World Cup in Australasia.

A more positive approach has permeated their play, which was previously shackled and out-of-date.

Although England have just lost a one-day series in India, the games were close in tough conditions, and England will be strongly fancied to do well on home soil in the Champions Trophy this summer.

“There are some very talented players in-and-around the England set-up, and it’s obviously a tough choice for the captain and management,” added Moxon.

“There are a number of options available to them, and that’s one of the good things about the England one-day team at the minute.

“It’s a good thing to have so many choices, because competition for places is always healthy.

“As a Yorkshireman, I’m always going to side with Jonny because of the talent that we know he’s got and how destructive he can be.”

Despite almost breaking the record for the most Test runs by an England batsman in a calendar year, Bairstow was overlooked for England’s first engagements of 2017.

He was left out of the first two one-day internationals in India, with Eoin Morgan returning as captain after choosing to miss the autumn series in Bangladesh due to security concerns.

On recent form, neither Bairstow nor Sam Billings deserved to make way for Morgan, who finally ended a dismal run with a hundred in the second ODI in Cuttack.

But after Alex Hales’s tour was ended by a hand injury in that game, Bairstow was recalled for the final match in Kolkata on Sunday, scoring 56 to help England to a five-run win.

Hales’s injury also meant a return to the T20 squad for Bairstow, who was not originally selected for the three-match series against India that starts in Kanpur tomorrow.

Bairstow has played only 20 T20 internationals to go with 23 ODI appearances, despite a good track record in both forms of the game.

Moxon is confident that Bairstow will grab his chance if selected for the forthcoming T20 fixtures.

The T20 series continues in Nagpur on Sunday before concluding in Bangalore on Wednesday.

“Hopefully, Jonny will get an opportunity in those T20 games and I’m sure he’ll do well if he does,” said Moxon.

“Eventually, I hope that he’ll become a first-choice pick.

“At the end of the day, the more he plays, the better he’ll get.

“He has not played a lot of 50-over or T20 cricket, and he needs to play to get better really.”

Moxon was encouraged by England’s performances in the recent one-day series.

The tourists produced successive totals of 350-7, 366-8 and 321-8, although there is room for improvement in the bowling department.

“I thought they competed well,” he said.

“They were close games, and it’s not an easy place to go and win.

“The margins are small, and if they’d just had that little bit more control with the ball, they could easily have won that series.

“From a batting point of view, they’ve got some exciting talent, and there’s no reason why they can’t do well in the Champions Trophy.”

CONGRATULATIONS: England's Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow walk off at stumps at the end of day one at the WACA. Picture: Jason O'Brien/PA

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