London, May 18 (IANS) England batter Jonny Bairstow, who is set to return to international cricket after eight months on the sidelines due to a horrific leg injury, has revealed that he wondered whether he’ll be able to walk again and play cricket or not while missing the action following his freak accident.
The 33-year-old Bairstow grabbed all the headlines when England announced their squad for the one-off Test against Ireland, with the wicket-keeper batter returning after an eight-month layoff just in time for the Ashes.
In September 2022, Bairstow suffered a freak leg injury on the golf course and had to undergo surgery to repair a broken leg and dislocated ankle. The England star was on a dream run in Test cricket before the incident, scoring 1061 runs in 10 matches in the calendar year.
The attacking batter eventually missed England’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign in Australia as a result and the monumental Test series victory against Pakistan.
The journey back to cricket has been trying, as revealed by Bairstow, who recently returned to competitive cricket with Yorkshire in the County Championship.
“You wonder whether or not you’ll be able to walk again, jog again, run again, play cricket again. Absolutely, those things do go through your mind. It depends on how long you think about them. There are many different things, until you get back to playing, well…you wonder, is it going to feel the same?” Bairstow was quoted as saying by ICC.
“It’s quite funny, people have said, ‘You’re limping’. Well, I don’t know anyone that’s had a major lower leg injury that does walk exactly the same as previously. There are going to be little limps, there are going to be aches and pains, that’s part and parcel of it. Whether it’s knees, hips, ankles, lower back, or whatever it is.
When there’s trauma, there’s going to be an adaptation to the way that your body moves or your body walks, that’s just part and parcel of it. I’m not going to be running exactly the same as last year, but that’s okay,” he added.
Bairstow’s return comes at the expense of Ben Foakes, who filled in brilliantly in the former’s absence but had to miss out on a place in the England squad for the Ireland Test.
“He’s been an integral part of the last 12 months and how he’s gone about it. It’s something which is never easy and I’ve been on the end of it. So absolutely I’ve got some sympathy for Ben. I’ve no doubts he’ll be back in the fold at some point soon,” said Bairstow.
At the same time, it was a very emotional moment to be back in the international setup for Bairstow, who got a call from Test coach Brendon McCullum regarding his inclusion.
“I was buzzing. It filled me with a lot of pride again. I’ve said there’s been some dark times this winter and it’s been tough so to get that phone call after all the emotions you go through and everything else this winter…there’s a huge amount of pride that goes into it. Yes, getting that phone call…it was awesome,” he concluded.