In the ongoing India vs. England 4th Test, Jonny Bairstow continues to grapple with challenges as his highest score across six innings on this tour stands at 37. England’s head coach, Brendon McCullum, acknowledges Bairstow’s struggles but remains steadfast in his support for the big-hitting right-hander. McCullum, the former New Zealand captain and architect of Bazball, recognizes Bairstow’s past contributions for the Three Lions and expresses confidence in his potential, refusing to give up on the player despite the current series’ difficulties.

“I’m not blind but he’s done so well for us. We know that a top-quality Jonny Bairstow is as good as anyone in any conditions, so we’ve got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise,” McCullum stated after England lost the Rajkot Test by a whopping 434 runs.

Jonny Bairstow faces a challenging tour with his highest score limited to 37 in six innings. Despite getting his eyes in on three occasions, he fell victim to either exceptional deliveries, as seen against Axar Patel in Hyderabad, or lapses in judgment. The experienced cricketer finds himself in disappointment, particularly on the placid track in Rajkot, where he failed to reach double figures. Bairstow encountered a duck in the first innings and could only manage 4 in the second, adding to his frustration in the ongoing series.

Jonny Bairstow’s challenges in adapting to Indian conditions are apparent, reflected in his Test performance. After featuring in 11 Tests in India, his average stands at 25, significantly lower than his overall Test career average of 36. Struggling in these conditions, Bairstow has encountered four ducks and managed only three half-centuries. The disparity in his numbers underscores the difficulties he faces in finding consistency and success in the unique challenges posed by Indian pitches.

Former England captain Alastair Cook suggests a strategic move by considering the option of resting Jonny Bairstow and bringing in Dan Lawrence for the ongoing series against India. Cook emphasizes the challenging nature of touring India and acknowledges Bairstow’s tough run so far. With an eye on preserving the player and easing the pressure on Joe Root, Cook proposes giving Bairstow a break and introducing Lawrence, who also brings value to the spin department. Cook believes this decision could provide a fresh perspective and relieve Bairstow from the current pressures and challenges in the series.

McCullum, however, stated he would “block outside noise” and continue to back Bairstow. “I haven’t even seen the wicket. But I’d anticipate Jonny would be playing, yes. So from our point of view, we’ve got to keep on giving him confidence and block out a lot of the external noise as well and keep him really present and focused on what he’s trying to achieve, and I’m sure Jonny will come good. (I will) spend a bit of time with Jonny and remind him that he’s such a wonderful player.”

Former England captain Michael Atherton voices support for retaining Jonny Bairstow in the team despite his recent struggles. Atherton emphasizes the significance of Bairstow’s contribution to the team’s ongoing project and believes that, at this crucial juncture in the series against India, it would not be the right decision to leave him out. Highlighting the team’s commitment to providing players with support and backing, Atherton expresses confidence that Bairstow’s experience will be valued, and the team will trust him to bounce back. With India leading the series 2-1, the upcoming fourth Test in Ranchi takes on added importance for both teams.


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