‘Mongrel’ Bairstow lets others off the hook


Former England captain Nasser Hussain is a big admirer of Jonny Bairstow's stubborn batting, but says it does let the batsmen above him off the hook when they keep failing, as he rescues the side again and again.

Bairstow's 55 on day one of the fourth Test against Pakistan, combined with Moeen Ali's ton and Chris Woakes' 45, saved England after they lost four wickets before lunch. James Vince and Gary Ballance were poor once again.

Hussain, writing in the Daily Mail, loves that Bairstow has the mental toughness to rescue the team: "I like those street-fighting, over my dead body, ‘mongrel’ attributes in a cricketer and Bairstow has them in abundance.

"Jonny wants to show people what he’s made of in everything he does and is the perfect man for a crisis, as he did again yesterday by joining Moeen Ali in another crucial partnership with England in trouble.

"Indeed, the likes of those two and Chris Woakes are allowing Alex Hales, James Vince and Gary Ballance get away with it with their constant middle and lower order recovery acts. Bairstow’s character has had a lot to do with that."

Hussain added that Bairstow can use this mental toughness to improve his wicketkeeping, which is widely regarded as below-par, though the former skipper feels that even if the likes of Job Buttler takes the gloves, Bairstow would easily make the side as a batsman.

He added: "That character makes me think Bairstow will continue to improve as a wicketkeeper because he is determined to prove himself capable of being a Test all-rounder and he has been a lot better in the last couple of Tests.

"If that keeping maintains its improvement then England will be happy to leave Bairstow in his current role but if there are any doubts about it he is absolutely capable of being a specialist batsman for years to come."