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.

Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam