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Jonny Bairstow tipped to make flying start for Yorkshire
Andrew Gale expects Jonny Bairstow to hit the ground running in the forthcoming county season after a frustrating winter with England.
The Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman is currently taking a break from the game, having not travelled to Sri Lanka on their pre-season tour.
Bairstow struggled to make an impression with the bat in his two Ashes Tests at Melbourne and Sydney over the winter, although Yorkshire captain Gale was impressed with his wicketkeeping performances.
The aggressive right-hander then scored a first-class century for the Lions against a Sri Lanka Emerging Players team but did not make an impression with the willow on the unofficial three-Test series against Sri Lanka A.
Bairstow will start the season in Yorkshire colours against Somerset at Taunton on April 13 – and is even expected to play in their three-day friendly against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities at Headingley on Tuesday.
“We’ve given him a few weeks off because he’s had a long winter,” explained Gale, who admits the 24-year-old player may have lost a bit of confidence this winter.
“It would be better for him to have a few weeks away from cricket and to have a holiday to refresh the body and the mind. When he comes back, he’ll be able to hit the ground running.
“I would imagine he’s lost a bit of confidence because it hasn’t gone how it was planned.
“He would have wanted to secure his place in the England side throughout the winter. But what I thought was very encouraging was his wicketkeeping.
“I thought it was a big ask for him to go into an Ashes Test and keep after not doing too much of it over the last 18 months, whether it be for Yorkshire or England. I thought he handled the pressure and did quite well. That’s encouraging for us.
“We know that, given a score here and there, his batting will get back on track. He’s obviously had a few technical things to work on but Jonny will soon be sticking his chest out and scoring runs for Yorkshire again.”
Yorkshire finished their pre-season tour with a two-day match against a Sri Lanka Development team on Tuesday and yesterday.
Jack Leaning scored 85 not out and Adil Rashid 64 in a first-day score of 280 all out. The Sri Lankans were bowled out for 174 in reply as Jonny Tattersall took 4-24 with his leg-breaks. Yorkshire were 84-2 in their second innings at the close.