Although England’s assistant batting coach Graham Thorpe said that Jonny Bairstow would join the England team after the first Test against India, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) media team later confirmed that he would be available only after the second match.
The ECB media team said that Bairstow would rest until the second Test. He will join the team for the third and the fourth Test.
“To clarify, the plan is still for Jonny Bairstow to return for the third and fourth Test and not the second Test along with Sam Curran and Mark Wood,” the ECB media team clarified.
“Every individual case is different. They are managing the amount of time in the environment. The T20 World Cup, which is coming up, got the IPL tournament as well where players gain a lot of experience. I suppose Jonny is on a white-ball contract at the moment as well but he is coming back in after the first Test back into the squad,” Thorpe had said in a virtual conference.
Despite registering the second-highest score in England the last series against Sri Lanka that the team won 2-0, Bairstow did not get a chance to play in the first two Tests against India. He scored 138 runs in the series at an average of 46.33.
England’s decision to not include Bairstow in the team invited a lot of criticism. Seniors players with the likes of former skippers Nasser Hussain, Kevin Pietersen, and Michael Vaughan criticised the England team management’s decision for r the treatment they gave to Bairstow.
“Big debate on whether ENG have picked their best team to play India in the 1st Test. Winning IN India is as good a feeling as winning in Aus. It’s disrespectful to ENG fans & also @BCCI to NOT play your best team. Bairstow has to play! Broad/Anderson have to play!” Kevin Pietersen had tweeted earlier, criticising the England team selectors for not including Bairstow in the playing XI for the first Test.
England had earlier justified their decision by saying that they have adopted a policy to rotate their multi-format players to give the players enough time to recover their mental and physical strength.
England is set to play four-match Test series against India starting February 5 in Chennai. It will be then followed by three ODIs and five T20Is.