May 17, 2012

English cricket

Selectors made a bold choice by backing Bairstow

Carlyle Laurie

Vic Marks, writing in the Guardian, says that England’s selectors decision to pick Jonny Bairstow, 22, for the series against West Indies is a bold choice and one that sets the pulse racing.

In the 2005 series against Australia, the selectors had to weigh the merits of the brash young Kevin Pietersen, or the vastly experienced old pro, Graham Thorpe? The right choice seems obvious now, but it was not clear-cut at the time.

This week the selectors have leant in the same direction they did in 2005. They have taken the bold course. Bairstow sets the pulse racing; his instincts are to take the bowlers on; he has a touch of charisma. The selectors are taking a bit of a punt on a bright young man in form. And we are all intrigued.

The obvious alternative, James Taylor, is Thorpe-like in his approach rather than his experience. He would have felt like a safer choice. He is not such a swashbuckler. His batting seems more attuned to the tempo of Tests. Everyone has been talking about him as a Test prospect for a couple of years; he captained the Lions in the winter. Meanwhile Bairstow, though capped several times in one-day cricket, has sprinted up on the rails as a Test player.

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