England news April 17, 2017

Gale critical of Bairstow's enforced absence


Jonny Bairstow has played an ODI and two warm-up games for England so far this year © AFP

Andrew Gale has admitted he was "disappointed" by the ECB decision to rest Jonny Bairstow from Yorkshire's opening rounds of Championship action.

Gale, Yorkshire's new head coach, accepted the absence of Joe Root due to his heavy workload in international cricket. But Bairstow, who has hardly played since the conclusion of England's Test tour to India in mid-December, has also been rested despite having been made available for the IPL.

When Bairstow was not picked-up in the IPL auction, Yorkshire might have presumed he would be available for them. But, despite having played just three days of cricket this year (a warm-up game and an ODI in India, and a warm-up game in St Kitts), Bairstow has instead been rested from the opening two matches of the Championship season, appearing instead as an analyst on Sky's IPL coverage.

That has left Yorkshire, who wrapped up a crushing win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Monday after losing their opening game, confused and disappointed.

"I can see why someone like Rooty would want a rest given the amount of cricket he's played," Gale said. "But Jonny has played one one-day international since Christmas. I think he's played three days of cricket.

"For me, he should have been available right from the first game of the season. He had enough time off from the end of the West Indies trip. I felt he should have been available."

It's not the first time that Yorkshire, and Gale in particular, have expressed their discontent with decisions made by the England management. At the end of last season, with the Championship title at stake, Gale was frustrated by Adil Rashid's decision to miss the final match of the season (Rashid claimed that a family member was ill), while the club also requested the release of players from the England touring squad in the Caribbean at the start of the 2015 season. That squad contained several Yorkshire players who were deemed surplus to requirements from the Test side.

Both Root and Bairstow will be available for Yorkshire's next Championship game which starts on Friday. Liam Plunkett, who has a calf strain, is not thought likely to be fit to return.

Gale's concerns have been eased somewhat by the emergence of Ben Coad, who had played just one Championship match before this season, but is currently the leading wicket-taker in the country with 18 from the first two matches, including his maiden five- and ten-wicket hauls.

Only winning a place in the side due to the absence of several first-choice bowlers (Plunkett, Jack Brooks, Ryan Sidebottom and, for the opening match, David Willey and Rashid), he has again demonstrated the depth of the Yorkshire squad and the success of their youth development.

"When you have fine seamers injured you are a little worried," Gale agreed. "But it creates opportunities and Coady has grabbed the bull by the horns and put his name in the hat for the rest of the year. I'm sure the lads will looking over their shoulders thinking how they will get back in the team.

"He's surprised himself. He's always had the talent and done well in the second team but to come in and take 18 wickets, I didn't expect him to lead the attack.

"We pride ourselves on bringing through homegrown players with the time and money we put into the academy. We don't want to be signing guys from around the country or abroad. We want to back our home-grown players. We will always give them the chance first and then the academy lads can see a path into the first team and that gives them hope.

"This is part and parcel of being part of Yorkshire. We've always wanted to bring our homegrown players through, but if we do that, they are going to get picked for England. We want our players to play for England, but when they're available we want them to play for us as well."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jack.f6014551 on April 20, 2017, 7:00 GMT

    ah, i see the tinfoil brigade yorkshire fans out in force on this page.

    doing their best to tear down middlesex's 2016 title triumph.

  • ian on April 19, 2017, 18:02 GMT

    Displaced Yorkie: Consistency? Fairness? Transparency? Logic? Honest communication? You may as well whistle in a storm! This is the ECB you are dealing with!

  • nmehal0608822 on April 19, 2017, 13:41 GMT

    bairstow should be playing in the first round.Others are getting plenty of game time except root who alredy has had a big season so let's hope he will not be rusty during the Sa series.

  • lunnpb0253287 on April 19, 2017, 12:16 GMT

    I'll accept that the ECB own Bairstow's employment but they also own Woakes' & Stokes' employment & they're playing in the IPL. All I'm asking for is a bit of consistency

  • cricfan9601822286 on April 19, 2017, 11:26 GMT

    He's had no cricket since December and it's now mid April. He wants to play, the county want him to play, the support wants to see him

  • John on April 19, 2017, 11:07 GMT

    As a Yorkshire supporter who can't travel to away games in the south of the country, I am doubly disappointed that the only very limited opportunity to see Root and Bairstow in action for the county (probably for the whole season) is happening in Southampton. The ECB-favoured county of Hampshire gets to see them, but many of the supporters whose club has helped them become what they are don't get that chance.

  • PJ on April 18, 2017, 16:21 GMT

    "The ECB own Bairstow's employment in the form of a central contract, and hence pay his wages. Therefore they can decide when and where and with whom he plays, it's as simple as that."

    Simple or simplistic?

  • M on April 18, 2017, 14:29 GMT

    The ECB own Bairstow's employment in the form of a central contract, and hence pay his wages. Therefore they can decide when and where and with whom he plays, it's as simple as that. JB will probably take the gloves all summer in the tests and play in some of the shorter formats too, so the ECB would want to make sure he doesn't get risked at all at this stage of the season. I would imagine that the decision made would have the backing (or at least the knowledge) of the England captain and coach...

    I can see why county supporters and county coaches would feel aggrieved that their best XI isn't out on the field, but it is all about the national side. A successful England team means far more to the national (and global) good of the game than Yorkshire winning in the county championship in April... But you can be sure that the ECB will release all their fit / contracted players for the T20 tournament(s) to come, because it makes more commercial sense to do so...best players in best games

  • PJ on April 18, 2017, 13:11 GMT


    Yes, we're on the same page. Your suggestion about Mr Dobell's association is a good one. Comments do tend to get lost forever on sites like these.

  • Robert on April 18, 2017, 12:34 GMT

    I can understand why you would manage the workload of Anderson and Broad - but Bairstow? As a batsman you cant play enough. You would hope there was some science behind the ECB's decision - so perhaps they should come out and say what the reasons are.

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