Bairstow named Young Cricketer of the Year
Jonny Bairstow, who made an eye-catching debut for England in the final ODI against India in Cardiff, has been named the Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year for 2011. Bairstow, 21, received the award at the club's 65th anniversary lunch at Lord's just three days after his unbeaten 41 from just 21 balls helped England to a six-wicket win.
Bairstow's show-stopping debut capped a memorable season in which he scored 1,213 first-class runs at 48.52 for Yorkshire and the England Lions - converting his maiden century against Nottinghamshire in May, the first of three this summer, into 205. He garnered nearly double the number of votes as runner-up Chris Woakes.
Bairstow's inclusion in England's plans - and his nerveless display of crisp hitting on debut - has created fierce competition for places in the limited-overs middle order. While he may struggle to make a spot his own, particularly once Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen return, Bairstow has drawn praise from both his coach and captain for a sterling start to his international career.
"I can't remember a debut like that," said England coach Andy Flower. "It was very clean and impressive hitting. Not many people can strike it as cleanly as that. Not many people are that talented. He should be very proud of his performance and it is great to make an impact in international cricket straightaway, but let's all keep level heads about it. Talk is cheap, but he did it with his actions, and he will continually be asked questions to repeat his performances out there in the middle when the pressure is on."
"What a way to make an international statement," added one-day captain Alastair Cook, himself a former recipient of the Young Cricketer award, after Bairstow's debut knock. "I think we've just found a player. I don't want to heap too much pressure on him, but to make your debut like that and go and play in such a controlled but positive way was incredible. The lads looking around in the dressing room were saying we've just found one. All credit to Jonny for that. It's never always going to be plain sailing, but he looks like an outstanding prospect."
Bairstow, whose father David was a former England wicketkeeper himself, is the ninth Yorkshireman to win the Young Cricketer award - following Fred Trueman (1952), Phil Sharpe (1962), Geoff Boycott (1963), Chris Old (1970), Ashley Metcalfe (joint winner, 1986), Richard Blakey (1987), Chris Silverwood (1996) and Adil Rashid (2007). This is the 62nd year in which the award, restricted to England-qualified players under the age of 23 on May 1, has been presented.