Jonny Bairstow, who walked away with the Man of the Match award on Friday, hit out at Sunil Gavaskar for a remark made during the Test series by the latter, who claimed that Bairstow looked ‘disinterested’ in playing. Bairstow said that he will be happy to talk to Gavaskar about his Test ambitions.
On Friday, Jonny Bairstow posted his second century in his last three ODIs and was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match for his stellar efforts, but things were not so smooth for the Yorkshireman during the Test series. Coming back from a period of rest, Bairstow posted scores of 0, 0, 28, and 0 in the longest format and was bamboozled by spin, despite having the reputation of being a ‘sub-continent specialist’.
Bairstow found himself at the centre of criticism during the Tests and one of his more vocal critics was Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar. On air during the Ahmedabad leg of the Tests, Gavaskar was critical of Bairstow’s temperament and said that the batsman looked ‘disinterested’ out in the middle.
Bairstow did not respond to the comments during the Tests, but post his match-winning effort with the bat on Friday, the 31-year-old hit out at the Indian legend. Bairstow, in the post-match press conference, questioned how Gavaskar can draw conclusions without first-hand communication and insisted that he is more than willing to speak to the 71-year-old about his Test ambitions.
"First of all, no, I hadn't heard that and secondly, I am interested as to how opinion can have been made especially when there has been no correspondence and communication between myself and him,” Bairstow said, referring to Gavaskar’s comments.
"So he is more than welcome to give me a ring and I will speak to him about my will to do well in Test cricket and the enjoyment I do get out of playing Test cricket. As I said, my phone is on. If he wants, he can call or message me.”
It was only earlier in the week that Bairstow had made it clear that he was vying for the No.3 spot for the Ashes. Bairstow, who was not given a red-ball contract by the ECB, had said that he was ‘very keen’ to bat at No.3 in Australia and had insisted that he was pleased with where his red-ball game was at, despite his scores suggesting otherwise.
"I'm very keen to do that. People will have spoken about the last two Tests here but, prior to that in Sri Lanka, to score the runs and come in at three, and previously at three for England I've been pretty happy. Hopefully I do get more than four games there... even with those lower scores in the last couple of Tests, average-wise, it was still okay.
"There wasn't anyone in those last two games that exactly lit it up, was there? So a pink-ball Test match at a new venue that nobody scored any runs at, and then obviously the last game, I thought, an umpire's call decision that didn't necessarily go my way in the first innings, but to be honest with you, I'm happy with where my game's at and how I'm striking the ball.
"I do hope that that is the case and I do get an opportunity to be batting at three going forward, because I do feel that my game's in a good enough place. Having four games in the winter on the subcontinent, which is never going to be easy, full stop... but going back home in the summer to England and then moving forward with the experiences that I've had over in Australia. I think going to Australia with a wealth of experience, as we know when you're entering a major tournament, gives you a better chance of having success over there.
"So yeah, that is something that I do want to do, want to pursue, and hopefully I am given the opportunity,” Bairstow had said.