Jonny Bairstow is in a race against time to be fit for England’s two-Test series in New Zealand in February after his freak leg break earlier this year slipping on the golf course
Jonny Bairstow is struggling to be fit for England’s two-Test series in New Zealand in February after breaking his leg in a freak golfing accident in September.
It was originally thought Bairstow might only miss the rest of 2022, and while England also travel to Bangladesh for a white-ball series in March, it is understood the likeliest date for his return is at the Indian Premier League later that month, when he hopes to resume ties with Punjab Kings.
Assuming Bairstow isn’t ready to take the field against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui on February 16, the gloves are set to stay with Ben Foakes, who missed the first two Tests in Pakistan through a mixture of illness and selection issues, but reclaimed the wicketkeeping role from stand-in Ollie Pope, and on Sunday helped Harry Brook salvage England’s first innings during a sixth-wicket stand of 117.
Jonny Bairstow is in a race against time to be fit for England’s two-Test New Zealand tour
Bairstow was among the driving forces of England’s Bazball revolution during the summer, crashing 589 runs from 578 balls in five innings – including four hundreds – against New Zealand and India. That made it six Test centuries in 2022, equalling the most by an England player in a calendar year.
Had he not slipped while walking to a tee box at Pannal golf club near Harrogate only a few hours after being named in England’s T20 World Cup squad, breaking his left leg and dislocating his ankle, he might now own the record outright.
Given the success of both Brook and Pope in Pakistan, the eventual return of Bairstow will leave the selectors with a headache, with Foakes potentially under pressure once more.
The batsman (R) was one of the early proprietors of the aggressive style adopted by Ben Stokes (L) and Brendon McCullum