“Thanks for coming Jonny. Maybe we’ll give you a ring if we’re one short next month”.
You’ve got to feel sorry for Jonny Bairstow. He’s the third best batsman in the country (after Root and Cook), he had a record breaking 2016 as England’s test batsman-keeper, he averages a healthy 37 in ODIs at an excellent strike-rate of 91, and yet he can’t get into England’s first choice ODI side.
And worse still, when he does actually get a game, they ask someone else to keep wicket! The bloody cheek of it.
If I was Jonny I’d be an angry man. He isn’t even allowed to play for Yorkshire when he wants to. And yesterday he took his frustrations out on Ireland’s bowlers. His unbeaten 72 off 44 balls was brutal. It was like watching, erm, Jos Buttler.
Even though he wasn’t man of the match yesterday – Joe Root also scored 70 odd and also took 3-52 with the ball – the main talking point was undoubtedly Bairstow. Everyone knows what a good player he is in all forms. The problem is that England have too many talented players to choose from and haven’t yet thought of a way to squeeze twelve into eleven. Perhaps they should consult the Allen Stanford school of accounting?
England won yesterday’s ODI as expected – thanks largely to useful knocks from Bairstow, the skipper, and the test skipper. However, at least Ireland put up more of a fight this time. Ian Porterfield did the right thing by asking England to bat first, and when Paul Sterling took a fancy to Willey (no euphemism intended) it briefly looked like Ireland might pull off (definitely no euphemism intended) a shock victory.
Fortunately for us Liam Plunkett had a good day – his 3-23 was excellent – and Kevin O’Brien had a bad one. After a promising opening partnership of 68, Ireland lost wickets at regular intervals and fell 85 runs short of England’s competitive 328.
It was a shame for the Irish in many ways because they played Adil Rashid a lot better this time. Unfortunately they got into a tangle against the much more straightforward off spin of Joe Root. It reminded me of the days when England would actually manage to keep out Shane Warne for a change only to come a cropper against Colin Funky Miller (or someone equally annoying and innocuous). Sigh.
At least Ireland gave their fans something to cheer about this time though. Porterfield made a run a ball 82 – a real captain’s knock – and the sun even came out for a while in the afternoon.
As for England, I guess we’ve had a useful workout before the real action starts in a few week’s time. I wonder if the management know what our best team is? I found it very interesting that they left out Moeen Ali. With Joe Root picking up 3 wickets, and the likes of Ben Stokes to come back into the team, it’s hard to see Mo getting his place back – which is something of a shame, as he’s never let England down with the ball in one-day cricket. In fact, he’s a much more consistent white ball spinner than he is a test spinner.
And then there’s the Jonny Bairstow dilemma. Has he done enough to supplant the talented Sam Billings as our reserve white ball keeper? The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter. Neither of them are going to play anyway.