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Illingworth chunters at Bairstow management

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 22, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Jonny Bairstow walks back to the pavilion, New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 3rd day, March 24, 2013
Jonny Bairstow endured a difficult winter © Getty Images
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Ray Illingworth, the former Yorkshire and England batsman, has criticised the way Jonny Bairstow was treated by England over the winter.

Illingworth, a member of Yorkshire's brains trust, warmed up for the Headingley Test by having a chunter on the subject of the England management who overlooked Bairstow as wicketkeeper in one-day cricket.

Bairstow's place in the England Test side is held to be most vulnerable assuming Kevin Pietersen recovers in time for the Ashes and Illingworth felt he was treated poorly during the winter programme in India either side of Christmas and New Zealand in February and March.

"I was very disappointed for Bairstow during the winter, when I thought he was trailed around unnecessarily," he told the Yorkshire Post. "He went out there as the leading one-day wicketkeeper and never kept wicket, which I thought was very poor."

Bairstow played the second Test in India, where he made 9 in his only innings, stepping in for Ian Bell who left the tour on paternity leave but arrived back for the third Test. Bairstow then missed the one-day leg of the tour for family reasons and rejoined the England party in New Zealand. He played in the three T20 matches and the final Test in Auckland, scoring 3 and 6.

"Test-wise, there is nothing worse for a young player than being trailed around and not playing. Getting knocks in the nets is a waste of time. It was the worst thing they could have done for him. I had a season like that in 1955 with Yorkshire and, at the end of the season, I was nowhere near as good a player as I was at the start.

"If he is not going to keep wicket, he needs to be in the first four as that is where you need to bat if you are to be a major batsman. You can only get away with batting down to five at Test match level, although England are always going to play six batsmen, as they are frightened to death of playing an extra bowler. They will never change."

Jos Buttler has assumed the the gloves in one-day cricket and Bairstow has failed to win a place as a specialist batsman and has scored 119 runs at 23.80 in seven ODIs.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

I just think it betrays a very strange view of the world where Illingworth thinks England should give Bairstow special treatment (presumably because he is from Yorkshire) when it is arguable whether he should be in the Test or One Day squads at all. I mentioned Carberry to illustrate the number of batsmen ahead of Bairstow in the one-day pecking order if Bairstow isn't keeping wicket.

Posted by Trickstar on (May 23, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

@ Ed Weech Well Carberry can't get near the Test side because he's averaging 37 this year and 30 last year in 2nd division cricket, simple as that. Contrast that with Bairstows last 2 years first class average of 46 and 51. Also as an opener who's place is he going to take in the one day side and lest be honest up to this year he's had one really good season in List A, hence why he averages 33.

Posted by cricketfanwrites on (May 23, 2013, 14:24 GMT)

CA has done the same or even worse to Usman Khawaja. Its terrible for these young lads.

Posted by cloudmess on (May 23, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

R Illingworth's England XI for Leeds: A Lyth, J. Root, A. Gale, M. Lumb, J. Bairstow (wicket), R. Illingworth (captain), A. Rashid, T. Bresnan, L. Plunkett, J. Anderson (overseas professional), F. Trueman.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

This is tragi-comic. How can he say this about Bairstow when someone like Michael Carberry can't get near the team in any form of the game, no matter how many runs he gets? This is the definition of partisan, blinkered thinking... it's horrifying Illingworth was ever in charge of the national side.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 23, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

I have to agree with Trickstar on this. While it's difficult for a player to be part of a winter tour and not play, what's the alternative? If he is the next best batsman behind those who are playing then he's the man who should be the reserve. Should England send him home and bring in a lesser batsman as reserve and then suffer if that reserve has to be called into the team at the last moment? Would Bairstow thank them for sending him home and his then missing an opportunity? He didn't do much with the limited opportunities that he had and what would be unfair is to judge him too harshly on those isolated failures but I'm sure Bairstow himself would prefer to be getting those opportunities than not. Once he gets to play a reasonable number of Tests in a row is when we'll see what he's really made of and being the current reserve makes that more likely to happen. Ask Bairstow and James Taylor whether they'd trade places and see whether Illingworth's words are worth considering.

Posted by Trickstar on (May 22, 2013, 23:43 GMT)

Even as Yorkshire member & fan for 25 years, I can say Illingworth is talking rubbish. In the winter he was England's back up batsman, what exactly is hard to understand about that and how was it unnecessary. His problem was that Root came out of pretty much nowhere and took his place. What's he asking for, does he think he should of been sent home and got another player to be reserve batsman. As for one day batting, come on Ray we've given a chance to a guy that literally has double the batting average of Jonny and is probably a better keeper, although that's not saying much because Jonny is pretty poor. Who in the top 4 is Bairstow going to take the place of, seeing as KP hasn't been playing of late anyway and he's not as a good as the guys already there. As for his comment about coming back a worse player after a winter not playing much, well Jonny has played very well for Yorkshire and it yet to be seen whether he is test class.

Posted by AsankaGurusinghefan on (May 22, 2013, 21:47 GMT)

He has a point but look at the talent he mismanaged- Hick, Malcolm, Tufnell, Ramprakash, Lewis, Thorpe, Defreitas, Smith, Tudor...

Posted by gramedgar on (May 22, 2013, 21:20 GMT)

He is speaking good sense about the winter but not the batting order.

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