England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow returned to the crease for the first time after eight months for Yorkshire. With his timely return, England has got a big boost ahead of the upcoming Ashes Test series. Bairstow turned out for the Yorkshire Second XI against Nottinghamshire in what was his first hit-out since breaking his leg in September last year, and the 33-year-old looked at ease scoring a steady 97 at Headingley.
The right-handed batsman hit 13 fours and two massive sixes during his 88-ball innings as Yorkshire ended the opening day of the four-day contest in a strong position at 437/7.
Yorkshire’s Second XI coach Tom Smith was quoted as saying by the ICC, “Once he was playing, it looked like he would never go away.”
“Watching him towards the end, the way he plays the late cut, the way he drives the ball, the way he plays the spinner, a shot over extra cover showed international class.”
Bairstow was in career-best form until his accident on a golf course last September, with the veteran scoring six hundred for his country and playing a major role in England’s renaissance under new coach Brendon McCullum.
An unfortunate leg injury paved the way for young gun Harry Brook to be given his chance at Test level and the right-handed batsman made the most of the opportunity, scoring four centuries in six Tests.
But Bairstow is fighting to win back his place in England’s Test XI this summer if his return from injury proves successful, although he may have to do so in the guise of the wicketkeeper.
It is believed that Bairstow will spend some time with the gloves during the Nottinghamshire innings and the veteran could replace current keeper Ben Foakes during the busy upcoming schedule.
Bairstow is expected to feature in Yorkshire’s first XI next week, while the one-off Test against Ireland in early June precedes a five-match Ashes series at home against Australia.
Bairstow was England’s only century-scorer during their disastrous 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia early last year, with his innings in Sydney beginning an eight-month purple patch until his foot injury.