Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Can Learn So Much from Bairstow

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Can Learn So Much from Bairstow

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse Cricket Correspondent

WINNING bilateral series against top nations does not mean very much if you cannot deliver under extreme pressure.

At Taunton today, England will be confident of repeating their victory over South Africa at Southampton two days ago, given their dominant performance there. That would seal the three-match Twenty20 series with a game to spare -- just as England managed in the 50-over series against the Proteas in May.

Yet international cricket, especially the limited-overs game, is unforgiving. The only white-ball matches that really count take place in the World Cup, the World Twenty20 and -- to a lesser extent -- the Champions Trophy. There is very little room for error.

The remedy often proposed is to give England players greater exposure to Twenty20 competitions across the world, such as the Indian Premier League and Australia's Big Bash.

This year, the ECB conceded more ground to their best players than ever before, allowing Ben Stokes -- who signed a PS1.7million deal with Rising Pune Supergiant -- Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes to miss May's one-day internationals against Ireland, in order to spend more time with their franchises.

It still did not turn England into winners, because when it really mattered, they were thrashed by Pakistan in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

That was one of only two games England have lost in white-ball cricket this summer, with the other a dead rubber against South Africa at Lord's on May 29. Nine wins from 11 is a fine record -- but who cares if one of the defeats wrecked your hopes of winning a global trophy on home soil? England would do well to observe Jonny Bairstow, an increasingly impressive figure, to understand how to thrive under pressure. Aged 19, Bairstow made 82 not out for Yorkshire against Somerset on his first-class debut in June 2009 and has shown aptitude for scoring difficult runs ever since.

It has not always been easy for Bairstow in England colours but in the past 18 months, he has done everything required. …

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