In a exhibition of power hitting and comeback innings, Jonny Bairstow silenced his critics with a dazzling knock of 99 runs from just 81 deliveries during the third day of the fourth Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford.
The explosive innings, laced with ten fours and four sixes, saw Bairstow come agonizingly close to achieving a well-deserved century, further solidifying his position as a formidable force in English cricket.
Throughout the summer, Bairstow has faced intense scrutiny and debate over his place in the team, making this performance all the more satisfying for the 33-year-old.
The resilience and flair with which he batted reminded fans and pundits alike of the electrifying form he showcased during the summer of 2022 when he became the face of ‘Bazball.’ It became evident again that once he gets going, he can really become a headache for the opposition team.
“They Can Say Anything They Like”, Jonny Bairstow Hits At Harsh Critics
Following the game, Bairstow candidly expressed his frustration at the persistent criticism he has endured. In an interview with Sky Sports, he voiced, “I’m just pleased to be playing.
Everyone thinks I play better when people go at me, and it gets a bit tiresome, to be honest with you.” He remained undeterred by the disparaging remarks, asserting, “If I was that rubbish, I wouldn’t have played 94 games.”
Bairstow’s journey to this standout performance has been far from smooth. A leg injury, sustained during a match, had threatened to derail his career. “I’ve not kept wicket for three years. I’ve got nine pins, a plate, and a wire that goes through my ankle,” he revealed. The injury necessitated nine months of recovery and rehabilitation, and there were moments when it seemed like his illustrious cricketing career might come to an abrupt end.
“It’s not the lack of overs. I’m still just 10 months post-operation right now. So when you speak to the surgeon and he says: ‘I’m surprised you’re walking and running, never mind playing professional sport,’ I’m delighted to be where I’m at,” Bairstow expressed with relief.
Acknowledging the immense effort he put into his recovery, Bairstow emphasized the significance of the support he received from his loved ones, particularly during the challenging nine months.
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“It’s taken a heck of a lot of graft, it’s been a rollercoaster, a lot happened in those nine months, and to take the field again with a group of boys I care a heck of a lot about, is a special place for me to be,” he said, his gratitude evident.
After Runout Incident, An Innings Like This Was Expected From Him
Despite the criticism, Bairstow defended England’s attacking approach under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum. He asserted that the team has remained steadfast in their style of play and will continue to do so.
“I don’t think the approach has changed throughout the series. It has been questioned at times by you guys [media], but we stuck to our guns all the way through. That’s exactly how we’ve played our cricket, ever since Ben [Stokes] came in charge of the side, and that’s what we’re sticking by,” Bairstow emphasized.
As the fiery batsman continues to defy adversity and critics alike, his passion for the game and unwavering commitment to entertaining fans is a testament of how fittingly he plays Bazball.
Jonny Bairstow’s remarkable innings during the fourth Ashes Test stands as a testament to his indomitable spirit and serves as a reminder that he is far from finished leaving his mark on the cricketing world.