Jonny Bairstow has defended his England colleagues amid criticism they dropped too many catches during the Investec series win over West Indies.
Joe Root’s team shelled 14 chances over the three Tests, including six in the second Test at Headingley which saw the tourists knock off 322 to claim an unlikely victory.
It led to criticism from coach Trevor Bayliss, who described the team’s catching as ‘terrible’ and demanded an improvement ahead of this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.
Jonny Bairstow tries his hands at playing steel drums with Royal London ahead of England’s one-day international series with West Indies this month
Bairstow (left) and England short-form team-mate Tom Curran receive their tuition
Wicketkeeper Bairstow offered an explanation for the missed chances at his home ground Headingley, saying it all came down to positioning.
He said: ‘People make mistakes, we’ve all dropped catches before and that’s the nature of being in the slips.
‘People say no catch is an easy catch, but it’s even harder coming out of a crowd that are all wearing different colours and at different paces.
‘Perhaps one thing people didn’t realise is how close we were standing at Headingley because we had two that dropped short down the hill and that doesn’t normally happen.
‘so we went up a metre-and-a-half from where we started the day. When the second new ball came around, that metre-and-a-half at the 86mph Broady was bowling is a huge space.
England wicketkeeper Bairstow laughs during the recent Test series win over West Indies
England dropped catches 14 times during the three Tests against West Indies, including here when Alastair Cook shelled Kraigg Brathwaite at Lord’s
James Anderson (centre) claimed his 500th Test wicket during the win at Lord’s
‘It gives you a heck of a lot more time to adjust and if it wobbles or swings, it’s all compounded by how close you are.
‘But we weren’t good enough and we didn’t take the catches we wanted to take and should have taken.
‘We recognise that, we know that and it’s something we need to put right leading into the winter.’
Having taken a fair amount of criticism in the past for both his keeping and batting, Bairstow has taken satisfaction in the chatter dying down over the past year.
His performances behind the stumps have remained solid and Bairstow batted with assurance at No 7, especially in the series against South Africa.
‘I’ve been delighted with my keeping this summer, it’s something I’ve worked really hard on,’ Bairstow said.
Bairstow has enjoyed a successful summer both as wicketkeeper and No 7 batsman
The Yorkshire cricketer batted well over the summer, especially against South Africa
‘There was a lot said about it a year ago, even less than a year ago. For people not to be talking about it and instead going ‘blooming heck, he’s actually kept nicely here.’
‘Keeping himself to himself, moving around marshalling the troops and just doing a job, that’s what you want to be doing.’
A busy winter awaits Bairstow, who is named in the squad for this Saturday’s one-off Twenty20 match with West Indies at Chester-le-Street and the five Royal London one-day internationals starting next Tuesday.
There is only a month between the conclusion of those and England flying out to Australia for the Ashes, time Bairstow will fill promoting his autobiography ‘A Clear Blue Sky.’
Bairstow will turn his focus to this winter’s Ashes series after the one-day series this month
Bairstow celebrates taking the catch to dismiss Shai Hope off the bowling of James Anderson
Bairstow was called into England’s last Ashes tour in 2013-14 ahead of the fourth Test with the series already decided. He says that tough tour will stand those who remain in good stead this time around.
He said: ‘Going over there now with the experience we had, both positive and negative, we know it will be a very hard tour both on and off the field.
‘But if you do well over there, people respect what you do, as we know from 2010-11.’
Jonny Bairstow was speaking on behalf of Royal London, proud sponsors of One Day cricket. Visit royallondoncricket.com to find out more.