Was MS Dhoni the best in India, says David Lloyd as he backs Jonny Bairstow ahead of 100th Test

Updated - 04 Mar 2024, 04:42 PM

Jonny Bairstow, MS Dhoni
Jonny Bairstow, MS Dhoni [PC: X/Twitter]

The upcoming fifth Test between India and England will be a special one for Jonny Bairstow if he manages to retain his spot in the playing eleven. He is in line to become only the 17th player from England to play 100 Tests.

Among active England cricketers, he will become the fourth player after James Anderson, Joe Root, and Ben Stokes to achieve the huge feat. And as he gears up for the milestone Test, questions are being raised about his place in the Test team. The right-handed batsman has struggled to do well with the bat in the ongoing series so far.

Jonny Bairstow has got the starts but has not really managed to capitalize on them. In the first Test, he registered scores of 37 and 10 before being dismissed for 25 and 26 in the second game. In the third Test in Rajkot, the 34-year-old endured a difficult outing and was dismissed for 0 and 4 as England suffered an embarrassing 434-run defeat. In the fourth Test in Ranchi, Jonny Bairstow got the starts again, scoring 38 and 3o but could not build on those starts.

David Lloyd backs Jonny Bairstow:

Apart from his batting in recent times, Jonny Bairstow has also faced criticism for his wicketkeeping. His performance in the Ashes last year came under the scanner with many suggesting that Ben Foakes should have been preferred ahead of him. In the ongoing series, he has not kept the wickets at all with England giving the responsibility to Foakes.

While Jonny Bairstow continues to divide opinions, former cricketer-turned-commentator has thrown his support behind him. Writing in his column for The Daily Mail, Lloyd hailed the England star as ‘someone who influences outcomes’ and rubbished the criticism about his wicketkeeping.

“With an average of 36 and a strike rate of 59, he is someone who influences outcomes. Those numbers are close to ideal for a wicketkeeper. To critics of his glovework, I ask you: was Adam Gilchrist the best wicketkeeper in Australia when he played Test cricket? Was Mahendra Singh Dhoni the best in India? Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara? Our own Matt Prior? Brendon McCullum of New Zealand?” wrote Lloyd.

“No, and in each case their worth to the team in front of the stumps outweighed whatever they did behind them. Ditto Bairstow’s worth to England, and he really comes into his own joining an existing batter in the middle or being left with the tail,” he added.

Writing further, Lloyd stated that he never doubted Jonny Bairstow because of his unselfish nature and the ability to change the outcome of a game. Lloyd said that the right-hander batter has the ability to put the opposition under pressure due to his aggressive batting style.

“Never doubted he was a player who was going to make it. Why? Because of his style: totally unselfish, with an ability to change the game. It is so important in Tests to put pressure back on the opposition. Having been an international coach, I can tell you that his name will feature on the whiteboard in the opposition dressing room, because he can really hurt you with the speed of his scoring,” wrote Lloyd.

Meanwhile, the fifth and final Test between India and England is scheduled to be played from March 7 in Dharamsala.


David Lloyd England National Cricket Team IND vs ENG 2024 Jonny Bairstow MS Dhoni