Jonny Bairstow skips the Indian Premier League with England star fully focused on making The Ashes squad after missing winter Test cricket with a broken leg
- Jonny Bairstow will miss this year’s Indian Premier League to focus on The Ashes
- The England star missed out on winter Test cricket after breaking his leg
- Bairstow dazzled last summer and is eager to make a return for the series
Jonny Bairstow will miss the Indian Premier League to ensure he is fully fit to make his England comeback in this year’s Ashes.
The man who did more than anyone to ignite ‘Bazball’ last summer with four centuries in five Tests was forced out of England’s highly successful winter, which included winning the Twenty20 World Cup and defeating Pakistan 3-0 in an historic Test series, when he suffered a badly broken leg in a freak accident slipping while playing golf.
But even though Bairstow has had successful surgery on his left leg and is running again, he has decided, in conjunction with England, to miss out on his £950,000 contract with Punjab Kings in the world’s richest franchise league.
That means he can continue his rehabilitation at home in Yorkshire while targeting a return in the early weeks of the County Championship or the one-off Test against Ireland on June 1 that precedes the Ashes that run throughout June and July.
The man who replaced Bairstow in the Test side in Harry Brook has made an extraordinary start to his Test career but both England captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum have said the 33-year-old will ‘walk’ back into the side when fit.
Jonny Bairstow will skip this year’s Indian Premier League to focus on the Ashes
The England star missed winter Test cricket after breaking his leg and has had surgery
Bairstow starred for England last summer and is eager to play a part in this year’s Ashes
That will leave England with a huge selection dilemma, with Brook now undroppable and keeper-batsman Ben Foakes making a strong case for his continued retention in the drawn series in New Zealand that finished at the start of this month.
And McCullum hinted that Bairstow’s return may not be as automatic as he has suggested when he said in Wellington after the thrilling second Test defeat that he ‘wouldn’t crowbar’ anyone into the side.
But Bairstow’s absence in India has to be considered a boost for England because it means there is a greater chance of a key player being fully fit and fresh when it really matters – when Australia arrive for what is still the biggest show in cricket.
Stokes, in contrast, will fulfil his £1.6 million IPL deal with Chennai even though Sportsmail understands he is unlikely to bowl much, if at all, because of the chronic knee condition that left him playing on virtually one leg in New Zealand.
The England captain also said last month that he will return home in good time to prepare and play against Ireland even if Chennai get to the closing stages of the IPL at the end of May.
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