Totally unselfish, with an ability to change the game, says David Lloyd ahead of Jonny Bairstow’s 100th Test

March 4, 2024
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Ahead of Jonny Bairstow featuring in his 100th Test match when England play India in the fifth and final match of the series at Dharamshala

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Ahead of Jonny Bairstow featuring in his 100th Test match when England play India in the fifth and final match of the series at Dharamshala on March 7, former cricketer David Lloyd hailed the wicketkeeper-batter for being on the verge of achieving the landmark by lauding his totally unselfish nature and ability to change the game.

Bairstow has endured a lean run on the tour of India so far, making only 170 runs in the first four matches at an average of just over 21. He is now all set to become the 17th men’s Test player from England to play 100 Test matches.

“I never doubted he was a player who was going to make it. Why? Because of his style: totally unselfish, with an ability to change the game. It is so important in Tests to put pressure back on the opposition.”

“Having been an international coach, I can tell you that his name will feature on the whiteboard in the opposition dressing room, because he can really hurt you with the speed of his scoring. With an average of 36 and a strike rate of 59, he is someone who influences outcomes. Those numbers are close to ideal for a wicketkeeper,” wrote Lloyd in the Daily Mail.

He also felt Bairstow’s numbers as a wicketkeeper stack up against the best in the world. “And to critics of his glovework, I ask you: was Adam Gilchrist the best wicketkeeper in Australia when he played Test cricket? Was Mahendra Singh Dhoni the best in India? Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara? Our own Matt Prior? Brendon McCullum of New Zealand?”

“No, and in each case their worth to the team in front of the stumps outweighed whatever they did behind them,” added Lloyd.

In 99 Tests, Bairstow has amassed 5974 runs at an average of 36.42, including 12 centuries and 26 fifties. Lloyd signed off by lauding Bairstow’s mum Janet for raising him and his sister Becky well after their father, former England wicketkeeper David Bairstow died.

“Ditto Bairstow’s worth to England, and he really comes into his own, joining an existing batter in the middle or being left with the tail. The occasion of his 100th Test in Dharamshala might be a dead rubber against India but it will be viewed by Jonny as a fabulous milestone, not so much for himself but for his family.”

“I know his mum Janet really well because she worked as cricket administrator at Yorkshire for a long time while my wife Diana held a similar position at Lancashire. Janet’s a real character and did remarkably well to bring up her two kids, Becky and Jonny, after the family tragedy that took their father David from them at such a young age.”

“She made sure they had every opportunity to succeed in their chosen careers and I know Jonny will dedicate this match to his mum and late dad. Forget the position he is batting for England now, I feel he has followed in his father’s footsteps as a belligerent No 7.”

–IANS

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