Jonny Bairstow, the son of the former England wicketkeeper David Bairstow, is a combative wicketkeeper-batsman who has become a cricketer to be reckoned with in England’s middle order. The journey was far from easy for Bairstow, especially with Jos Buttler in contention for the gloves, but prolific run-making for Yorkshire eventually made a case that England’s selectors could not ignore. Galvanised by his selection, runs flowed.
Bairstow’s wicketkeeping has rarely met with universal approval and, much to his chagrin, the debate as occasional chances have been spurned about whether he might be better playing as a specialist batsman has never been silenced. But from the moment that he delivered an emotional maiden Test century in Cape Town, where his father has strong off-season links, and the aggressive batting that Yorkshire prized so highly has become a regular feature of the England scene, with only regular appearances in T20 eluding him.
He has had to fight against a tendency to play across the line and, to that end, he stands tall, bat held aloft, adding to his pugnacious image. Driven and independently minded, he is very much his own man. Intensive work with Bruce French, England’s wicketkeeping coach, has also made his keeping more secure.
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