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OTD | Fearless, competitive, match-winner, England stalwart Jonny Bairstow turns 34

OTD | Fearless competitive match winner England stalwart Jonny Bairstow turns 34

Jonny Bairstow is a highly talented cricketer known for his aggressive batting style and wicket keeping skills. While he has achieved remarkable success in limited-overs cricket, his Test career has been marked by adaptability and occasional setbacks. Nevertheless, his contributions have played a crucial role in England’s cricketing journey. It is on this day when this England stalwart turns 34. 

In addition to it, Bairstow is also the son of former England wicketkeeper David Bairstow, and has carved a prominent place for himself in England’s cricketing landscape. Initially, his journey was challenging, with competition from Jos Buttler for the wicketkeeping role, but his prolific run-scoring for Yorkshire eventually earned him a spot in England’s middle order.

Bairstow’s wicket keeping skills have been a subject of debate, with some suggesting he could be better utilized as a specialist batter. However, his emotional maiden Test century in Cape Town, a place with strong links to his father, marked a turning point in his international career. Bairstow’s impact was even more pronounced in the one-day format, where his opening partnership with Jason Roy played a pivotal role in England’s World Cup victory in 2019.

The prolific wicketkeeper batter is known for his combative style and ability to play both pace and spin, Bairstow has had to contend with a tendency to play across the line. His upright stance and pugnacious approach to batting have become his trademarks. He is a fiercely independent and driven individual, and his hard work with England’s wicket keeping coach, Bruce French, has improved his keeping skills.

The 2019 World Cup winner displayed his talent early on, winning the Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year in 2007. He joined Yorkshire’s ranks at a young age and made his first-class debut against Somerset in 2009. Despite the tragic loss of his father, he persevered in cricket, representing Yorkshire’s 2nd XI and Academy side before securing a full-time contract.

Bairstow’s breakthrough moment came in 2011 when he scored his maiden first-class century against Nottinghamshire and established himself as Yorkshire’s first-choice wicketkeeper. A call-up to the England Lions tour of the Caribbean further underscored his potential.

The 34-year-old’s international career has been marked by highs and lows. He made his ODI debut against India, contributing an unbeaten 41 off 21 balls. Despite early struggles in Test cricket, his innings of 95 at Lord’s against South Africa showed his immense potential. Over the years, Bairstow has evolved into a key player for England, excelling in limited-overs cricket. He played in all of England’s matches in the 2016 World T20 and played crucial roles in white-ball cricket victories against New Zealand and West Indies.

Despite his white-ball successes, Bairstow’s Test career has been less consistent. He scored centuries in the 2017-18 Ashes and in Christchurch, but he was often shuffled in the batting order. His return to Test cricket in 2021 saw mixed results. Bairstow’s standout performances include back-to-back centuries in the 2019 World Cup, playing a significant role in England’s triumph. However, his Test career has faced challenges due to fluctuating roles and form.

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