Bairstow: It's just another game for me

 

As Jonny Bairstow entered the hotel lobby on Sunday morning before going to play cricket he was beckoned. The National Selector himself wanted a word. Bairstow wondered what he could possibly want, which does not perhaps say a great deal for his deductive powers.

Then again, Geoff Miller was not hiring him as a detective, he was inviting him to bat for England in a Test match for the first time. "I didn't really know what it was about so to get that news was fantastic," said Bairstow yesterday, as he recounted that moment when a boyhood dream became something more substantial. "He explained a few different areas of play and things he had noted over a few weeks and then said that I was in the squad."

It is possible, if they have taken leave of their senses, that the captain, Andrew Strauss, and the coach, Andy Flower, into whose hands the squad of 13 has now been placed to do with as they want, will leave Bairstow out of the starting XI against West Indies at Lord's. But in the prevailing conditions and given England's winter batting cock-ups it is beyond logic.

Bairstow will become the 652nd England Test cricketer, the 78th from Yorkshire and the 13th to have had a father who also played. David Bairstow played four Tests for England between 1979 and 1981, one of them at Lord's and two of them against a West Indies team which was a rather different proposition than the one Jonny is likely to encounter this week.

It will obviously be a poignant moment. Bairstow's father took his own life when the boy was seven years old. Jonny became an all-round sportsmen as his father had been before him, outstanding at rugby, football and hockey at St Peter's School, York.

"It will be the same as every other day – there is a guy at the other end with a ball in his hand and you have got to face it," he said, downplaying the scale of it. "It will be a proud moment if selected and the family will be very proud. But at end of the day it is another game of cricket."

The match will be Bairstow's maiden first-class appearance at Lord's. In his only previous innings, in a one-day match for Yorkshire against Middlesex last August, he made 118 from 87 balls.

It is not, however, as a ground specialist that the selectors have opted for him above a crop of other young batsmen including James Taylor and Ben Stokes, whose cause continues to be hampered by injury. Bairstow has made two hundreds already this season, including an exemplary 182 in testing circumstances at Scarborough, and last week for England Lions made 50 when the side was in a spot of bother. His temperament as well as his skill came into the reckoning.

"It is something that has kind of happened and I have not really thought about," he said. "It is a good attribute. You don't want someone that cries off when the chips are down. It is that inner grit and determination that you are going to get out of this situation whether that be the easy or hard way."

One of Bairstow's chief mentors throughout his life has been Geoffrey Boycott, one of Yorkshire and England's most illustrious batsmen, who was a firm friend of Bairstow's father. When Jonny made his one-day international debut at Cardiff last year, it was Boycott who presented him with his cap and it would be fitting if he did so again on Thursday.

"Mum got a call from his wife yesterday but I haven't spoken to him. Geoffrey is very much if you want to speak to him you can. I'm very grateful to have someone like that as a family friend. But I haven't picked his brains, especially coming into this week. It is possible I could speak to him if I wanted to."

Boycott is an admirer as well as a friend and has made it plain that a long international career could await Bairstow. If the pair do talk before this initial foray, Boycott may mention that there will be no West Indian fast bowling on display at the other end by comparison with what he had to deal with.

While Bairstow is at the start of his international career, Jimmy Anderson is at the peak of his and was yesterday, correctly, named as the England Cricketer of the Year. He took 46 wickets in 11 Test matches, and 18 in 12 ODIs, both coincidentally at an average of 25.83. "The last two years I've shown what I can do at this level," Anderson said. "It's been a frustrating eight years before that, up and down. Knowing my game has been the biggest thing. Knowing I can bowl a ball on a length for a period of time is what all bowlers strive for and is something that was missing for the first part of my career."

Generation game: fathers and sons who played for England

Fred and Maurice Tate

Fred played his only match in 1902 and was last man out in a tense three-run defeat by Australia. "I've got a boy at home who'll put it all right for me," he said, and so Maurice did with 155 wickets in 39 Tests.

 

Joe Hardstaff Snr and Jnr

Joe Snr played five Tests in the early 1900s, Joe Jnr 23 with more success four decades later, including 205 not out at Lord's in the first Test after the Second World War.

 

Charlie and David Townsend

Charlie played two matches against Australia in 1899 and David three in the West Indies in 1935 – the last player to be picked for England who did not play for a county.

 

Frank and George Mann

Frank Mann played five matches in the early 1920s, all of them as captain, and George seven in the Forties, also all as captain, a unique record.

 

Jim Parks Snr and Jnr

Jim Snr played one Test in 1937, but his son was a regular part of the side in the 1960s, becoming a keeper-batsman who made 46 appearances.

Len and Richard Hutton

The father was one of England's most illustrious batsmen, the first professional captain of the 20th Century, Richard, a handy all-rounder, played five times in 1971.

 

Colin and Chris Cowdrey

Both were captain of England, though in Chris's case it was for just one of the six Tests he played, compared to his legendary dad's 27 in 114 matches.

Micky and Alec Stewart

Alec is England's most capped Test player with 133 appearances, his father who became England's first manager, played eight times in the early 1960s.

 

Jeff and Simon Jones

Injury curtailed the Test careers of both these fast bowlers, Jeff after 15 caps, Simon after 18, though he had the consolation of helping to win the 2005 Ashes.

Arnie and Ryan Sidebottom

The father played his solitary Test towards the end of a long county career and Ryan had to wait six years before he added to his first cap, becoming a reliable left-arm swinger who played 22 times.

 

Alan and Mark Butcher

Alan played one match against India at The Oval in 1979, Mark was more durable with 71 Tests, starting in 1997, which brought eight hundreds.

 

Chris and Stuart Broad

Perhaps the most successful pair, since both appeared in Ashes-winning sides, Chris scoring six hundreds in 25 appearances and Stuart with 45 caps already.

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss