Former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott has lambasted the English selectors and team management for the treatment that they have meted out to swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow.
Jonny Bairstow had made a comeback in the Test team during the recent tour of Sri Lanka where he fared well on turning tracks while batting at the No.3 spot.
However, the Yorkshire cricketer was rested from the first two Tests of the India series as part of England’s workload management. With Jos Buttler having returned home following the completion of the first Test, Ben Foakes will don the gloves in the second match in Chennai.
Writing for the Telegraph, Geoffrey Boycott came down hard on the Ed Smith-led selection committee and the team management for the manner they have treated Jonny Bairstow.
The former opener-turner pundit said that England should be embarrassed for the treatment that they have meted out to Bairstow. Boycott alleged that Jonny Bairstow would have been queuing up in India to take over the gloves from Buttler after the first Test, adding that the Yorkshire cricket never wanted a rest and that it was forced on him.
“So I get Buttler leaving India but it is poor that Bairstow is not replacing him for the second Test. It has to be because Ed Smith (chief selector) wants to see this other kid, Foakes, get a go. Smith clearly does not want Jonny playing as a keeper-batsman,” Geoffrey Boycott told The Telegraph.
“He (Bairstow) has always said he wants to follow his father as a keeper-batsman. He does not want to be just a specialist batsman but Smith has made that decision and I feel it is unfair. Jonny has missed his opportunity to keep wicket again and England should be ashamed of what they have done to him,” Boycott added.
“It seems as if England bring him in and push him out when it suits them. He must feel like a yo-yo,” he further added. “Bairstow was not exactly looking for a rest, it has been forced on him. He would have been queuing up to stay in India and take the gloves. Jonny scored runs in Sri Lanka, he is used to India after two years in the IPL and he has a proven track record” he said.
Boycott further added that England missed out on an opportunity to create competition for places by resting Jonny Bairstow.
“You would think England would welcome competition for places. It is good for the team. If Jonny came in and kept well and scored runs Buttler would realize he has to keep playing well to stay in the side,” Geoffrey Boycott reckoned.
“But no. That chance has gone and England will be weaker at a point when they should pick their best team to go 2-0 up in the series,” he signed off.
Meanwhile, England has announced a 12-men squad for the second Test. James Anderson has been rested, Jofra Archer has been ruled out due to a niggle, Dom Bess has been dropped while Jos Buttler remains unavailable for selection as he has returned home. Stuart Broad, Ben Foakes, Chris Woakes, Olly Stone, and Moeen Ali have been added to the squad.