JONNY Bairstow has withdrawn from his forthcoming Big Bash stint with Melbourne Stars and is on the verge of an England Test recall.

Bairstow was due, alongside Dawid Malan, for his first taste of Australia’s domestic T20 league, having signed on to play for the MCG-based Stars.

But, while Malan has jetted off Down Under to join Hobart Hurricanes, Bairstow will return home to England early after the three-match ODI series in South Africa was postponed due to coronavirus concerns, and begin preparations for a New Year tour to Sri Lanka.

A two-Test series in Sri Lanka is set to be confirmed imminently by the ECB, a replica of the series aborted in March due to coronavirus.

Bairstow wasn’t actually on that tour, cut short during a warm-up game, but all indications point to him being on this one.

The Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman will not have played a Test Match in the calendar year of 2020, but he returns to a country where he scored a brilliant 110 in a Colombo Test in November 2018.

On that occasion, he batted at number three in the order. Unfortunately, though, that was the last of his six Test centuries to date.

Bairstow has been replaced by West Indian batsman Andre Fletcher as an overseas player with the Stars. The Big Bash starts tomorrow and is televised on BT Sport.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow is not the only England player to withdraw from the Big Bash at the last minute.

His young teammates Tom Curran and Tom Banton have pulled out of contracts with Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat respectively, with both citing the need for a break after months of living in bio-secure bubbles.

But Malan will still be gracing the Big Bash with his presence. In last Wednesday's win in Cape Town, he hit an unbeaten 99, his 10th score of 50 or more in international T20 cricket in just his 19th innings.

The previous fastest to that mark was Chris Gayle, who reached 10 50 plus scores in 25 innings.

Malan’s England team-mate Mark Wood revealed: “Chris Gayle calls himself the Universe Boss, so we’ve started calling Mala the Milky Way Boss!”