Jonny Bairstow is one of the most explosive and versatile batsmen in the world of cricket. He has represented England in all three formats of the game, and has been a key member of the team that won the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He is also a skilled wicket-keeper, who has taken over 300 catches and stumpings in international cricket. But behind his success lies a story of personal tragedy, resilience, and determination.
Early Life and Family Background
Jonny Bairstow was born on 26 September 1989 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. He is the second son of former Yorkshire and England wicket-keeper David Bairstow and the younger half-brother of former Derbyshire player Andrew Bairstow. Cricket runs in his blood, as he became the 13th father and son combination to represent England in Tests.
However, Jonny’s childhood was not easy. When he was just eight years old, his father committed suicide while suffering from depression. His mother, Janet, was later diagnosed with breast cancer, but fortunately recovered after undergoing chemotherapy. Jonny had to cope with these challenges while pursuing his passion for cricket.
He attended St Peter’s School in Yorkshire, where he showed his talent for the sport. He scored 654 runs in 2007, and was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year award. He also played football for seven years for the Leeds United youth team.
Domestic Career and Debut for England
Jonny made his debut for Yorkshire’s second XI in 2008, scoring 308 runs in six matches at an average of 61.60. He was called up to the first-team squad for the final County Championship match of the season against Sussex, but did not make the playing eleven. He signed a two-year contract with Yorkshire in 2009.
He continued to impress with his batting and wicket-keeping skills, and earned his first call-up to the England squad for the ODI and T20I series against India in 2011. He made his ODI debut on 16 September 2011 in Cardiff, scoring three runs and taking two catches. He made his T20I debut a week later against West Indies in London, scoring ten runs and taking one catch.
He had to wait until May 2012 to make his Test debut, which came against West Indies at Lord’s. His cap was presented to him by former Yorkshire and England legend Geoff Boycott. He scored 16 and nine runs in his first Test innings, and took four catches behind the stumps.
Rise to Fame and World Cup Glory
Jonny’s breakthrough series came in South Africa in 2015-16, where he scored his maiden Test century at Cape Town. He shared a record-breaking sixth-wicket partnership of 399 runs with Ben Stokes, who scored a double century. Jonny finished the series with 359 runs at an average of 89.75.
He followed this up with another century against Sri Lanka at Leeds in 2016, where he also equalled the world record for most dismissals by a wicket-keeper in a Test match with nine. He repeated this feat against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2016.
Jonny became a regular member of England’s ODI and T20I teams as well, forming a formidable opening partnership with Jason Roy. He scored his first ODI century against West Indies at Southampton in 2017, and went on to score ten more ODI hundreds till date.
He was instrumental in England’s historic triumph at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, where he scored 532 runs at an average of 48.36, including two consecutive centuries against India and New Zealand in the group stage. He also took eight catches and one stumping in the tournament.
Twenty20 Leagues and Current Form
Jonny has also played in various Twenty20 leagues around the world, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pakistan Super League (PSL), T10 League, and The Hundred. He has represented teams like Sunrisers Hyderabad, Punjab Kings, Peshawar Zalmi, Kerala Kings, and Welsh Fire.
He has been one of the most consistent and destructive batsmen in T20 cricket, scoring over 1500 runs in international matches at a strike rate of over 140. He has also scored over 2000 runs in IPL matches at a strike rate of over 150.
He is currently ranked among the top ten batsmen in both ODIs and T20Is by the International Cricket Council (ICC). He is also part of England’s Test squad for the ongoing Ashes series against Australia.