Such is England’s predicament at the World Cup, Jonny Bairstow was sledged by a London taxi driver in the aftermath of this week’s defeat by Australia at Lord’s.
However, it is the army of critics among former players the opener has vowed to silence ahead of Sunday’s must-win match against India at Edgbaston.
Bairstow has accused 2005 Ashes winners Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan of wanting England to fail and revelling in the back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia that have left Eoin Morgan’s team needing to win their final two group matches against India and New Zealand to reach the semi-finals.
Jonny Bairstow has vowed to silence the army of critics among England’s former players
Pietersen tweeted that Morgan looked ‘scared’ following his dismissal by Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc at Lord’s, while Vaughan told the BBC: ‘This is looking like turmoil for England.
‘I’ve been involved in a couple of atrocious World Cups. If they’re not careful, this could turn out to be top of the tree.’
Asked if he was annoyed by Pietersen’s post, Bairstow replied: ‘I’ve not even seen it to be honest.
‘I was on the radio this morning, I was surprised with a clip of Vaughan’s comments at 8.30. Bloody hell. That’s pretty rich.
He has accused Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan (pictured) of wanting England to fail
Eoin Morgan looks on as he is caught on the boundary, losing his wicket for just four runs
‘It’s part and parcel of modern life I’m afraid. That’s the world at the moment. You can’t be seen doing anything without someone having an opinion on it.
‘You walk down the street wearing the wrong pair of trainers and your sponsors fire you. It’s as dumb as that. It’s the world we live in. That is where we’re at.
‘People now are paid to have an opinion. Because we’ve done so well, any opportunity for someone to see we’ve lost two games, they were always going to jump on it.
‘People were waiting for us to fail. They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss so they can jump on your throat. It’s a typical English thing to do, in every sport.’
Bairstow is less scathing about the London cabbie who told him he was ‘out of form’ when he got into his taxi the day after the Australia defeat.
‘I chuckled at the taxi man,’ he says. ‘Of course people are going to say things.’
Bairstow was sledged by a London taxi driver in the aftermath of this week’s defeat at Lord’s
Pietersen (pictured) tweeted that captain Morgan looked scared of Australia’s fast bowling
Yet he insists England, who have been accused of failing to adapt their ultra-aggressive batting approach to conditions during this tournament, will blank out the critics over the coming days and stay true to the method that has taken them to No 1 in the world.
‘We’ve not let that [criticism] in,’ he says. ‘Because of the way we go about it and the way we play it doesn’t make a difference what’s been said here [and] there. We’ve done it for such a long period and this group has been together for three years, if not longer.
‘So just because we’ve lost two games — yes it’s in a crunch tournament — and people start talking, it’s not going to change the way we go about it.
‘We’ve worked our knackers off to go to the position we’re in. We’ve turned pretty much every stone over and tried to move our games forward to the extent of this is where we’re at now.
‘And that’s why we’ve got to No 1.
‘At the end of the day there’s 30 blokes sat in the meetings and in the dressing rooms that know what we’ve been working towards for the last three years.
‘So it’s not just the players staying true to it, it’s the coaches, medical staff, it’s a collective.’
Bairstow says he will blank out the critics over the coming days and stay true to the method
Part of the problem for England has been the pitches they have been confronted with so far, with the flat, batsman-friendly surfaces that have allowed them to pile up huge totals conspicuous by their absence.
Bairstow admits: ‘The pitches we’ve been playing on the last two years are surely the pitches we would be playing on in a World Cup? So I don’t know why they’ve changed.
‘That wasn’t a typical Oval wicket we played South Africa on in the opening game. It wasn’t a typical Trent Bridge wicket we played Pakistan on. It wasn’t a typical Lord’s wicket we played the other day.
‘They’re not the typical wickets we’ve been playing on over two-and-a-bit years. That’s just factual.
‘But I’m not making excuses, we’ve not played well enough to beat sides when we should have done. And we should have got over the line in at least two of the three defeats we’ve had. We know that.’
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