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Shane Warne questions Jonny Bairstow’s absence from England’s Test side

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Shane Warne has questioned Jonny Bairstow’s recent absence from the England Test set-up.

Speaking on the Road to the Ashes podcast, Warne, in conversation with Mark Waugh and Michael Vaughan, was critical of England following their recent home defeat to New Zealand.

Warne remarked that although a number of batsmen have been given opportunities of late, few have made the most of them. Warne questioned the recent absence of Jonny Bairstow, who has played just four Tests since the start of 2020.

“No one has grabbed that opportunity,” said Warne. “Why isn’t Jonny Bairstow playing Test cricket? He’s actually performed extremely well. I look at England and I think they’re worried about their tactics, I don’t think they’re playing aggressive enough cricket, they’re so worried about the performances of everyone, they’re resting people…”

Bairstow, now 31, has played 74 Tests across his international career. And while he has enjoyed success at Test level – his tally of 1,470 Test runs in 2016 is the third-highest ever recorded by an Englishman in a calendar year – those returns dwindled around about the time Bairstow established himself as a key component England’s white-ball set-up in 2017.

Bairstow endured a torrid run of form in 2019, a spell in which he failed to reach 60 across 10 Tests and one that saw him discarded from the Test team. Despite those returns, Bairstow, who has long been regarded as an excellent player of spin, was recalled for this year’s tours of Sri Lanka and India. Across those four Tests, Bairstow averaged 23.85.

Adding to the conversation on Bairstow, Vaughan said: “On Jonny Bairstow, Jonny Bairstow had his Test place back against Sri Lanka. He played okay in those two games. He then went home to walk his dog. He got his place back after 18 months, he did okay, he’s in the team, then he went back home and missed the first two Tests against India and came back and went nought, nought, nought and now he’s out the side because he went to the IPL and they weren’t going to pick anybody for the New Zealand series that went to the IPL.”

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