Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bairstow Does Not Get the Credit He Deserves

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bairstow Does Not Get the Credit He Deserves

Article excerpt

Byline: ONNY BAIRSTOW has the potential James Taylor @Jamestaylor20

JONNY BAIRSTOW has the potential to have the same impact for England that Adam Gilchrist and AB De Villiers did for Australia and South Africa at their peak. His wicketkeeping has improved so much -- he is far better than he was even a year ago -- and England must resist the temptation to take the gloves off him just to get Jos Buttler or Ben Foakes into the Test team. The more involved Jonny is, the better he does. If he played as a batsman only, it would be a huge dent to the ego.

I don't think Jonny receives quite the credit he should for what he does. In 2016, he scored 1,470 Test runs, the most by any keeper in a calendar year. His 70 dismissals also put him at the top of the England charts, beating the 56 Matt Prior managed in 2010.

Jonny is working harder on his keeping than he has ever done and he has improved as a consequence. A lot of credit must go to coach Bruce French, who has done great things with all the England keepers, for the progress Jonny has made.

I would always have Jonny higher in the batting order than Ben Stokes. Jonny was at No5 for the first two Tests of this summer, then dropped to No7 when England played the extra batsman at The Oval last week -- but Jonny should be in the top six.

Stokes is an incredible all-rounder who can make a huge impact with the bat, as we saw with his 112 at The Oval, but over a whole summer, you would back Jonny to score more runs. Their respective Test averages tell a story: Jonny's is slightly below 41, while Stokes' is just over 34.

It is five years since Jonny made his Test debut and his defensive technique is much stronger now than it was then. He gets forward much better and gets into line with the ball, rather than having too big a gap between bat and pad. …

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