Jonny On A Mission

He’s got fire in his eyes. He plays for Welsh Fire. And he’s got the fieriest temperament this side of hell. Every time England drop Jonny Bairstow, or someone has the temerity to tacitly question his talent, he responds by scoring runs. Big tetchy runs.

It was the same again in Lincoln overnight. Jonny made a masculine 78 off 45 balls as England beat a New Zealand XI by 6 wickets with almost two whole overs to spare in their first T20 warmup. Job done. And message sent to the selectors.

Although I’ve got mixed feels about Bairstow playing any white ball cricket – I doubt he’ll ever recover his red ball form while he’s focusing on smashing the ball around rather than keeping it out – I can’t help but admire the way he responds to setbacks.

Jonny is like a man possessed in both T20s and ODIs these days, and although I think the test side needs an on-form Jonny Bairstow far more than our white ball teams, maybe he’s resigned himself to a white ball existence for the foreseeable future …

No matter how much it makes sense for Jonny and Jos Buttler to reverse roles, with Buttler focusing on white ball and Jonny on red (it was always thus after all) there’s no way Big Ed is going to admit that the flagship test selection of his tenure isn’t working out – not yet anyway.

Overall it was a good win for England. T20 can be a fickle format, so defeat is always a possibility in these games, so it was great to get the tour off to a positive side.

One wonders, however, whether the opposition were somewhat distracted by events in Japan, where David slaughtered Goliath rather convincingly despite the latter having the TMO in their pocket and the ref allowing them to pass forward liberally all game. Sorry, I had to get that in somewhere :-)

The only slight negative was the performance of England’s new boys: Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Saqib Mahmood, who all had tough(ish) debuts. Banton is a great talent, and I’m sure he’ll have a long white ball career at the top level, but facing a fired up Lockie Ferguson with the new ball is a significant step up from county cricket. Meanwhile, Brown and Mahmood conceded 39 and 35 runs from their four overs respectively, although the former did pick up a wicket.

At least, however, the new boys had a slightly better day than Joe Denly, who bowled three wicketless overs for 30 runs and then made three-ball duck. I’m still not sure why Joe’s on this tour, or even in England’s white ball thinking, but there you go.

It was a better day for the returnees. Chris Jordan bowled economically and it was really promising to see Adil Rashid pick up 2-25.

Adil is a key man in England’s white ball teams so let’s hope he can put his shoulder troubles behind him. Shoulder injuries can be particularly nasty for leg spinners. Even the great Shane Warne, emperor of London Spirit, wasn’t quite the same after his shoulder surgery.

I’m looking forward to monitoring England’s T20 team as we head towards the twenty over World Cup in Australia in a year’s time. Although T20 is the least important form of the game – at least in the opinion of this particular cricket snob – the games always have more context when there’s a big event approaching.

I’ve always enjoyed the T20 World Cups, and it would be brilliant to win the thing next year for two rather tasty reasons (a) holding both white ball World Cups at the same time would feel rather satisfying indeed, and (b) next year’s event is in Australia.

Wouldn’t it be great to lift a trophy in front of 90,000 grudging Aussies at the MCG? We sure as hell aren’t going to win the Ashes down under the following year – not the way things are currently going anyway – so let’s take our wins on Australian soil when we can get them.

James Morgan

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  • Not interested in Bairstow (spoilt brat) or this T20 or indeed any T20. It’s better than the 100 but that doesn’t say much.
    Playing in Lincoln. What in a Sports Centre?
    Sorry for being so negative in Sunday morning!

  • I reckon Bairstow has accepted that white ball cricket is now his only international option. You are right that Buttler is not worth his test place (and alas I suspect right that Smith will never admit this) – the red ball keeper’s slot should be occupied by Ben Foakes. As for the newbies, one warm-up game is not enough to be attempting to pass judgment.

  • T20… who cares
    Warm up vs what can only be described as a utterly crap team… who cares

    Bairstow… who cares. Jumped up moody sulky idiot who had a purple patch and everyone then Crowed about how he is a test class BAtsmen, could open.. Can bat 3/4/5 .. clueless.. guys a clown and now is a walking wicket at anything other than white ball hit and giggle.

    Keep plundering these meaningless runs fella.. makes you rich and keeps the beer heads happy after all. Nice to see we are supporting the beer heads games

      • A decent reason James 😂

        You could of course write about how you might do things.. both in amateur cricket, junior cricket and pro cricket maybe 🙈

  • Amusing photo of Big-Ed accompanying his Times’ interview. I must be forgetting Geoff Miller or James Whitaker being snapped in front of their crowded bookshelves. Nice bit of positioning to place ‘Gotham’ prominently just to remind everyone he lived in NY for a while, don’t you know…

    The bit of the article poking out behind the paywall claims “He has overseen much success, including a triumphant World Cup and a win ratio of 73% across all matches reaching a definite conclusion”. Well, it sounds better than “the first CoS who couldn’t win a home Ashes since 2001 and lost the West Indies’ Test series”.

    • And where is this ‘surge’ of new blood and exposure from the World Cup win?!?! Oh yeah, no one really cares or remembers white ball wins !! That’s why!! No sudden increase after the 2020 win in 2010 so why would there be now!

      Yet test cricket has a proven record in attracting the largest batch of new comers in 2005 seen .. well.. I’m guessing since 81 or earlier

      Still, he’s earned more cash and players and agents have earned more cash so it’s all rosy right ?

      • Lancashire actually set a record attendance for T20 games (excluding Yorkshire) THREE times this Summer out of five games.

        Other Counties have had increased too.

        There is no whatsoever that some of this was caused by the World Cup win.

        Of course due to the downgrading of the 50 over game England will not ever win that Cup again and are unlikely to win a T20 Tournament either if they are playing 100.

  • The thing that impressed me most on Saturday was that there were numerous opportunities for England to have allowed things to go wrong, but they never did. As you say, all the luck was with the All-blacks. There were no outright outrageous decisions, but every 50-50 decisions went their way. Two disallowed tries where the TMO seemed to see something clear and obvious that didn’t look clear and obvious at all. A gift of a try immediately after a blatant forward pass. A couple of dodgy penalties (Savea won a penalty for holding on despite having both feet off the ground). We didn’t even have a the comfort of a dominant set piece to rely on – scrums and lineouts were really the only facet of the game were NZ were our equal.

    All of these were moments when the sheer injustice could have allowed England to have lost their heads, panicked, gone into their shells. They were totally dominant and deserved to be 30-0 up, but somehow the kiwis were still in it.

    Against a lesser team, NZ would have won in 3 late tries and made it look like a thrashing. But England didn’t buckle one inch. Every time something went wrong – a mistake, a fumble, a missed tackle, a dodgy penalty, they immediately hit back, smashed the kiwis backwards, turned the ball over.

    We won the contact battle hands down, constantly smashing through the gain line, and smashing the kiwis back when they came at us. Our defence was ruthless and frenetic, our attack was varied and skilled. It really was a performance for the ages.

    • Yep. Agree with all that. It’s why you pay the big coaches the big bucks. No way England would’ve pulled off a performance / game plan like that under the out of his depth Stuart Lancaster.

  • I like Jonny Bairstow. He cares, as did his father, so I cut him some slack.

    James, you should do the same with England’s new boys. You can’t judge them on one performance.
    Pat Brown apparently had three catches put down off his bowling.

    As regards the rugby the largely anonymous Welsh coach (Dai Bach?) made some sarcastic comment about England’s win, prompting Eddie Jones to tell him to enjoy the third place playoff. A nice put down I thought.

  • This present England 20-20 squad is to me singularly unimpressive. There are half a team of pretty much unknowns. Maybe the last 4 years has not been the golden age we are led to believe. What is Denly doing out there, surely we have something better in the pipelines.


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