Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. Image: Twitter

Those who doubted that England’s encouragement of players to participate in the IPL could possibly do anything but hamper the Test team’s prospects may have to reconsider. That was Jonny Bairstow’s message following his remarkable innings at Trent Bridge, a 92-ball 136 that converted what should have been a nerve-wracking fifth-day chase against New Zealand into a cakewalk.

Bairstow had only returned to the UK a few days before the start of the series after spending eight weeks with Punjab Kings, smashing the white ball to all parts.

He hadn’t played a first-class innings since England’s Caribbean tour in late March, but he brought all of his limited-overs juggernaut skills to bear in Nottingham’s decisive final session, repeatedly and deliberately targeting the stands as a potentially tricky requirement of 160 in 38 overs was wiped off with a full 22 overs to spare.

The performance, as well as England’s full-throttle approach during a Test that saw nearly 1700 runs scored at breakneck speed, is likely to act as a manifesto for how Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum want to play the game, with multi-format players given license to play to their strengths.

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. (Photo: IPL)

IPL Helps To Understand How To Play Under Pressure: Jonny Bairstow

Bairstow had no doubt that his century, the second-fastest by an Englishman in Test cricket, had been built on his ability to deal with the high-pressure scenarios that are typical in the IPL, the world’s most high-profile T20 league.

“There was a lot of people that were saying I should not be at the IPL and I should be playing county cricket,” Bairstow said.

Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow. Image: Twitter

“That’s part and parcel of the game. Decisions are decisions and if I could say what I wanted to then… But there are also elements to it where you are playing against the best in the world at the IPL. So being able to have those gears, to be able to go and switch them up, switch them down is important.”

Bairstow’s current innings, his 9th Test century and first at home since 2016, continued a career renaissance in the format, which included centuries in Sydney and Antigua over the winter. His match-sealing performance at Trent Bridge was certainly a source of immense personal joy.

Also Read: We Want The IPL To Move Back To Home And Away Format From Next Season: Sourav Ganguly