Jonny Bairstow: England have not made wicketkeeping request, say Yorkshire

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Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow has played 89 Tests for England

Yorkshire say they have had no request for Jonny Bairstow to keep wicket on his return from injury, but the player himself wants to take the gloves.

Bairstow, 33, has been out since September with a broken leg.

He is aiming to return for England’s Test against Ireland on 1 June if he can prove his fitness for Yorkshire.

“We haven’t heard anything from England. Jonny has said he would like to keep,” said Yorkshire director of cricket Darren Gough.

With six centuries and 1,061 runs at an average of 66.31, Bairstow was enjoying the most successful year of his Test career before he slipped on a golf course and suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle.

He missed England’s T20 World Cup success, Test series in Pakistan and New Zealand and is now sitting out the Indian Premier League.

In Bairstow’s absence, Yorkshire team-mate Harry Brook has had a stellar start to his Test career, making four hundreds in six matches.

Though there has been speculation about Bairstow returning to the England team at the top of the order, coach Brendon McCullum has said he will not “crowbar” players in.

Opener Zak Crawley, without a half-century in his past eight Test innings, seems likely to keep his place for the Ireland Test and the start of the Ashes, which begin on 16 June.

Therefore, Bairstow’s most likely route back into the England team would be as wicketkeeper, replacing incumbent Ben Foakes. Bairstow has kept in 49 of his 89 Tests, but not since the end of the 2021 home summer.

“Jonny realises there is competition for places,” added former England fast bowler Gough.

“Although he had his best year ever for England, as soon as you’re out of the side, someone else comes in and it’s difficult to get back.

“He wants to give himself as many opportunities as he can. He obviously wants to keep.”

Yorkshire begin their season in Division Two of the County Championship next Thursday at home to Leicestershire. Bairstow is hoping to play in matches against Glamorgan beginning on 4 May and Durham on 11 May.

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson said: “He’s running up and down, he can run in straight lines but he’s not doing much lateral stuff yet. Everything is moving in the right direction.”

West Indian Gibson, a former England bowling coach, said Yorkshire would be receptive to a request for Bairstow to keep if it comes from the national team.

“Part of the job of county coaches is to develop players for England,” said Gibson. “If England put in a request that Jonny keeps wicket, we would be crazy not to accommodate them.

“We would be putting one of our players in a position to play for England, so we will certainly try to accommodate that request if and when it comes.”

If Bairstow were to take the gloves for Yorkshire, it would be in place of regular keeper Jonny Tattersall, who captained the county at the end of last season and is set to do so again at the beginning of this campaign with new skipper Shan Masood on international duty with Pakistan.

“The club’s goals are bigger than my personal goals, so if that means I have to step aside to let Jonny take the gloves, that’s fine,” said 28-year-old Tattersall.

“I wasn’t a keeper until the 2018 season. I took up keeping to try to get into the first team. I understand it’s professional sport and Jonny is an international player. If he needs certain things to prepare for England, so be it.”

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