Jonny Bairstow is one of English cricket’s prized assets as a batsman and a wicketkeeper, but the Bradford-born player’s career path could have been so different having featured on the Leeds United Academy as a right-back. He also excelled at rugby and hockey at St Peter’s School in York.
A powerful batsman, who is the ideal man to have at the crease when the pressure is on, he is also an ever-improving gloveman who has stood behind the stumps at the highest level.
One of the cleanest striker’s in the modern game, Bairstow starred in schools’ cricket, and moved through the Yorkshire Academy and Second XI before making his first-class debut in 2009.
Despite not playing any age-group international cricket for teams such as England under 19s, the son of Yorkshire great David quickly announced himself on the international stage following impressive displays for the Lions and for Yorkshire, including a magnificent 205 against Nottinghamshire in 2011 – his maiden first-class ton.
Having hit 41 not out off 21 balls against India on his one-day debut at Cardiff in September of that year, he went on to play Twenty20 international cricket later that month and then Test cricket in the summer of 2012.
He scored 95 and 54 in his fourth Test appearance against South Africa in August, 2012. He played in four out of five Ashes Tests in the summer of 2013 as England won the series 3-0.
He also played in the final two Tests of the winter Ashes series in 2013/14 at Melbourne and Sydney before playing a part in Yorkshire’s Championship title win in 2014.
Bairstow returned to England’s Test team in the 2015 home summer, winning the Ashes again and touring the UAE for their series against Pakistan on the back of some stunning county form.
2008 — Having debuted for Yorkshire’s Second XI at the age of 17 the previous summer, Bairstow scored 139 not out for them in a three-day Championship match against Worcestershire at Headingley in August. He was also the inaugural winner of the Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year award.
2009 — Scored an eye-catching unbeaten 82 during his Championship bow – a defeat against Somerset at Headingley – in June.
2010 — Posted an impressive 918 first-class runs, including crucial half-centuries in successful Championship run chases against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the opening match of the campaign and against the same opponents at Headingley in July and Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in September.
2011 — Toured the Caribbean with the England Lions in January, scoring an unbeaten 81 on debut versus St Kitts and Nevis. Scored 1,015 runs from 13 Championship matches, including that aforementioned double against Notts after a run of 17 half-centuries. Now Yorkshire’s number one wicketkeeper, he was capped in July and named Yorkshire’s Player of the Year in September before debuting in one-day cricket for England as a batsman.
2012 — Cracked an unbeaten 60 off 42 balls for England in a Twenty20 international win over Pakistan in Dubai in February before starting the county season with a bang thanks to his 107 against Kent at Headingley during the opening week. His 182 in the win against Leicestershire at Scarborough in May helped secure a Test debut against the West Indies at Lord’s. Starred against South Africa at the same venue later in the summer after regaining his place before featuring on the winter tour of India.
2013 — Missed England’s one-day series in India due to family reasons, but returned to all three squads for their subsequent tour of New Zealand. Became as Ashes winner in 2013, including a top-score of 67 in the second Test at Lord’s. Scored 528 runs from eight Championship matches, including a high-score of 186 against Derbyshire at Headingley early in the season. Selected in England’s Ashes squad for their winter tour of 2013/14, where he kept wicket in the fourth and fifth Tests at Melbourne and Sydney.
2014 – Bairstow scored his only T20 hundred against Durham at Emirates Durham, a blistering 102. He also bowled his only over in professional cricket in the Championship match against the same opponents at the same venue. He scored 647 runs in 13 matches, with his only century coming against Sussex at Arundel, a stunning 161 not out on a slow and tough pitch. He also scored an England Lions one-day ton and impressed behind the stumps in the title-winning campaign.
2015 – Arguably his best year. Started it as a squad member on England’s Test tour of the West Indies before some outstanding county form – he scored 1,108 Championship runs in only 15 innings at 92.33 with five hundreds and as many fifties – gained him a Test recall for the final three Ashes Tests as a batsman following some changes in his approach to batting. England won the series, with Bairstow scoring a polished 74 in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge. He played in all three Tests against Pakistan through October and early November, taking the gloves in the third Test as England lost the series 2-0. His career best 219 unbeaten came in an away Championship win against Durham, while he was named as the Yorkshire Player of the Year and scooped a similar award from the Cricket Writers’ Club.