London: Former England opener Geoffrey Boycott was appreciative of middle-order batter Jonny Bairstow’s brutal 92-ball 136 which powered the hosts in their chase of 299 on day five at Trent Bridge against New Zealand, saying that the right hander showed control and harnessed his power behind the shots in the match.
Bairstow had arrived home just a few days before the start of the three-match Test series, after spending eight weeks with Punjab Kings in IPL 2022. He had last played red-ball cricket on a tour of West Indies in March. But his white-ball skillsets came to the fore at Trent Bridge, when he exploded post-tea, registering the second-fastest century by an England batter in Test cricket and helping the home side win by five wickets in exactly 50 overs.
“At Trent Bridge, he did not play slogs, swipes or funky strokes. It was just massive power through some good cricket shots. Someone like Zak Crawley can learn from it. It is about being in control. You want a positive mindset but it is not bad batting to let the odd ball go. It is called judgement,” Boycott wrote in his column.
At Trent Bridge, he (Bairstow) did not play slogs, swipes or funky strokes. It was just massive power through some good cricket shots. Someone like Zak Crawley can learn from it. It is about being in control. You want a positive mindset but it is not bad batting to let the odd ball go. It is called judgement
Elaborating on the power behind Bairstow’s shots, Boycott said, “Once he had hit a few boundaries after tea, Jonny’s confidence went sky high. His adrenaline was flowing and his blood was rushing. He has always had this awesome destructive power, even from a young age. When he was a kid, he would come on holiday and stay with us in South Africa and I would take him to play golf.”
“He just hit the ball miles, not always straight but you could hardly see where it had gone. But what you have to do with such power is harness it properly. That is what he did differently from the Lord’s Test when he was swishing at every ball.”
“Jonny was 43 not out at tea off 48 balls. He laid a foundation. The key to his innings was before tea he batted in an orthodox way, not defensively, but with some purpose and common sense. It does not matter how good you are at playing shots, you still have to get used to the pitch and the bowling.”
Boycott opined that despite white-ball cricket’s effect of playing shots early in red-ball cricket, it has brought a sense that any target can be achieved.
“One-day cricket has infected the modern player with the desire to play shots too early in an innings. But the positive effect of one-day cricket is that it has given them the confidence to believe they can chase down big fourth innings totals that previous generations thought were impossible.”
“As long as the pitch is decent, modern-day players just treat it as a one-day run chase. The big bats help because Bairstow and Ben Stokes knew that even a mishit could go for six as long as they got enough of the ball. If they hit it well, then the ball flew miles back into the stands.”
“People like Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes will give him their backing. Brendon won’t tell him to try and bash every ball. He knows that is impossible. But he will say try to be positive and affect the match. Jonny now has soul mates in the captain and coach,” he added.