Jonny Bairstow proves he should open and also bat at four

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Our rule with white ball cricket is that if you’re bearing down on a World Cup, you pay attention to that particular format, and then immediately stop paying attention afterwards.

The competition currently known as the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is due to take place in October 2021. Being as the following edition is due to take place 12 months after that, it’s very much shortest format time. 50-over cricket isn’t really going to start seeming relevant again for quite some time.

We should probably try and get a handle on things, shouldn’t we?

The Jonny Bairstow situation

One of the big challenges with all white ball series – 20-over or 50-over – is remembering anything that happened in the one before.

For example, the big talking point ahead of England’s tour of South Africa was that Jonny Bairstow is no longer opening and has been dropped down the order to four.

While this dramatic move is apparently a source of great controversy, it’s quite hard to get worked up about when you weren’t really sure what position he’d been batting at anyway. Bairstow did indeed open in T20 during the summer, but then he’d batted at three when England toured South Africa way back in February of this year.

Batting one place lower in the same format in the same country in the same year really doesn’t seem that radical a move.

Do you remember that previous series? We absolutely 100 per cent do not. After checking the archives, we see that Moeen Ali hit a nice six, which sort of vaguely rings a bell.

Yesterday Bairstow hit 86 not out off 48-balls in his first match at his new batting position. Everyone agrees that this proves something. There is however a difference of opinion as to exactly what it proves.

Either it proves that he’s great and should be opening or it proves that he’s great at four and should be batting at four.

Our opinion is that England should look for a way of getting him to perform both roles. Perhaps invent a Bonny Jairstow and ask him to wear glasses. Bit of an issue if he ends up having to bat with himself, but these are the kinds of challenges you face when these big world tournaments hove into view.

11 comments

  1. Beautifully writ, KC.

    I’m especially glad to learn that forgetting everything that happened in previous bilateral white ball series is simply “the way the world is” and nothing to do with age encroaching upon my memory.

  2. This will go a long way towards solving their problem of having so many batsmen that they don’t know where to put them.

    Also, my impression has been that Buttler has been opening in T20 since 2016, but everyone immediately forgets about everything when a series has finished, so the media are excited about Jos Buttler being the new T20 opener every time he plays in a series.

    1. Nonsense.

      The Bonny Jairstow was a Bluegrass venue in Elk City, Oklahoma. Its fifteen minutes of fame came when Blind Lemon Ade LeRoy shocked the conservative audience with his delta blues anthem, “I’ve Got Those I Want To Be Number One But Now I’m Number Four” Blues.

      One very strange coincidence in all this, I now realise, is that this very morning I was happily writing up the (non cricket) story of my student days when I moved position from one to four myself. I have only just spotted that strange connection:

      http://ianlouisharris.com/1980/11/28/keele-fresher-memories-forty-years-on-meet-the-lindsay-f-block-gang-mid-october-to-late-november-1980/

      You’ll meet some colourful characters in there if you can be bothered.

  3. It’s just yet another YJB statement about his batting. Similar to his inevitable hundred just before he is dropped from the test Squad. Just a shame as that will never happen again, so he will just need to focus on the ‘inevitable high score in short format games to prove he is good enough’ performances.

  4. I thought it didn’t matter where YJB batted as long as he was sufficiently pissed off when he walked out to bat.

  5. Don’t you just get six blokes who can whack it and get them to do rock-paper-scissors for the order? I really don’t know what finishing in 20/20 is, I thought it was all finishing!

  6. In other news, it doesn’t look great for India’s tour of Australia. Smith is looking very dangerous.

  7. This TalkSport coverage of the T20Is is pretty good. Prefer it to the TMS coverage of domestic T20Is which I reckon suffers from them not knowing how seriously to take it.

    When did TalkSport become listenable to? I’ve avoided them for years based on past disappointment.

  8. Wasted at 4. Didn’t even bat in the third match. What a crazy experiment that was.

    How on earth does England expect to win series convincingly when they keep messing about with the batting order? I shall be writing to the ECB about this.

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