LONDON: Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes that Jonny Bairstow needs to deliver with a big inning in the ongoing Test series against India. He also said that Bairstow looks more secure after tinkering with his technique.
“He looks more secure having tinkered with his technique. He’s going back and across to off-stump and is trying to hit the ball back where it came from, rather than aiming across the line. He’s in a much better place. But he still needs to deliver with a big inning. In this series, his scores have been 29, 30, 57, 2, and 29. Not bad, but ‘e’s got himself in several times without going on to three figures. He knows he can do better,” wrote Hussain in his column for the Daily Mail on Thursday.
Bairstow has been assigned wicket-keeping duties for the fourth Test against India at The Oval. He comes in absence of Jos Buttler, who is unavailable due to the birth of his second child. Hussain believes that being handed keeping gloves could spur Bairstow to do well with the bat.
“That’s why he needs to for’et he’s got the gloves again and focus on backing up what many pundits in this country believe – he’s a serious batsman, one of England’s best, and is capable of big hundreds. It shouldn’t bother him much t’at he’s likely to be going in at No 6, where he averages 37 – more than any other position except No 7 – and has scored two of his six Test hundreds. He’s pretty well got what he wants,” added Hussain.
The 53-year-old pointed out that when Bairstow has a point to prove, he gets into great batting form. In 2021, Bairstow has scored 314 runs in 13 innings at an average of 26.16, including three ducks in four innings against India in Ahmedabad in February this year.
“It has become a bit of a Bairstow cliche, but probably with good ‘eason: he’s never better than when he has a point to prove. So I’d be saying to him, ‘Well done, Jonny, you’re back where you want to be. Now go out and show why you’re still one of the best red-ball batsmen in the country.’ I can understand why he’s always wanted the gloves, and why down the years he’s told anyone who will listen that his batting stats are better when he’s keeping wicket (an average of 37, with five hundreds) than when he isn’t (an average of 27, with one).”
The fourth Test between England and India starts at The Oval on Thursday. The five-match Test series is tied at 1-1.