Cricket

Jonny Bairstow gets Ashes backing from Jason Gillespie

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England should take advantage of Jonny Bairstow's red hot form to get back on track in the Ashes, according to the batsman's coach at Yorkshire, Jason Gillespie.

Calls for Bairstow to come into the side, in place of his struggling Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance, have intensified in the wake of England's 405-run mauling in the second Test at Lord's which saw Australia level the series at 1-1.

"Jonny is in a very special place right now," said Gillespie, writing in the Guardian.

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"His average in the championship this summer has just tipped past 100 with that innings and, given the opportunity, I know he would take it with both hands.

"It is important that those people who don't watch much county cricket don't pipe up with opinions based on his past experience in Test cricket because we're talking about a different beast right now."

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Bairstow has an average of just 26.95 in his 14 Tests so far and made just 49 runs in his two Tests in the 2013-14 Ashes series Down Under.

But Gillespie said he had received so much instruction on his technique during that tour it had "created more confusion in his mind" and he has since benefited from not being overloaded with advice.

Gillespie said: "We made a pact: the Yorkshire coaches - myself included - agreed we would not speak to him about his method and instead judge him solely on his returns. This would be our only feedback.

"No longer would he have support staff stopping him every second ball in the nets, telling him to change his grip, stance, backlift or alignment. Instead, the only advice would be when he sought it and based solely on his game plan for any given day.

"Sure, we still discuss conditions and what his approach for an innings will be, but in the 18 months that have followed his technique has not been brought up.

"Ultimately we have backed Jonny to take responsibility for his own game and the results are there to see.

"He no longer sweats the small stuff and is enjoying his cricket, which is something we emphasise heavily at Yorkshire. An Ashes series will be a step up in the quality of bowling he will face, no question, but he has had a taste and is now hungry for more."

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Topics:
Jonny Bairstow
Australia cricket
England cricket
The Ashes
Cricket

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