York’s Jonny Bairstow has been tipped to shine when he returns to England colours by Yorkshire team-mate Ryan Sidebottom, but he has been warned that he may have to be patient with regards to regaining his place in all forms.
It seems that the White Rose star’s best chance of regular international cricket will come in the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand, starting in Auckland today.
But his biggest battle will come when the one-day and Test series begin later this month and in early March respectively.
The 23-year-old missed the recent one-day series in India due to a family illness, and only played one Test in India before Christmas due largely to Kevin Pietersen’s return to the England set-up.
And Joe Root’s impressive start to life as an international cricketer in one-day and Test colours has not helped Bairstow’s chances either.
“I think he’s been a bit unlucky being in and out of the sides through no fault of his own really,” said swing bowler Sidebottom, who was part of England’s last tour to New Zealand in early 2008.
“I was very surprised after the way he played against South Africa at Lord’s in the summer that he didn’t play in the next Test. To get 50 and 90 under a lot of pressure and scrutiny, I thought he’d be one of the first names on the team sheet when it came to India.
“The England management saw it differently, which was a shame for him.
“I do speak to him a lot, and he was a bit upset and down. But he’s a strong character who will come back bigger and better. He’s still got a lot to learn, but he will do whether it’s with England initially or back here at Yorkshire. He’s got plenty of time and a great career ahead of him.”
Bairstow played in both T20 warm-up matches against a New Zealand Select XI earlier this week. He did not bat in the first and scored two in the second.