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NEW DELHI: Approaching his 100th Test match, England‘s wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow expressed the profound significance of reaching this milestone, acknowledging the challenges he has navigated throughout his career.
The 34-year-old cricketer, set to become the 17th Englishman to receive a 100th Test cap, shared that the achievement holds immense personal value for him, especially considering the demanding circumstances he has faced.As Bairstow prepares to step onto the field for the fifth and final Test against India in Dharamsala on Thursday, he reflects on an emotional journey marked by a challenging childhood and a potentially career-threatening injury.
The impending milestone serves as a testament to Bairstow’s resilience and determination in overcoming adversities to reach this significant point in his cricketing career.
“It means a hell of a lot. Every young kid that sets out on a journey playing professional cricket wants to try and play 100 Test matches. You look back to 2012 when I made my debut at Lord’s, if 12 years later you’d said I’d be playing 100 Test matches, you’d snap your hand off for one but also pinching yourself as well,” he said.
Bairstow was just 8 when his father David, a former England wicketkeeper, died by suicide. His mother Janet kept the family together even as she battled and defeated breast cancer twice.
Discussing the conditions for the upcoming match, Bairstow commended the groundsmen for their excellent work in preparing the pitch. This praise comes in contrast to the previous criticism the venue’s outfield received during the ODI World Cup.
“The ground staff has done a brilliant job with the outfield considering the state it was in during the ODI World Cup. It looks like a good pitch and if you are alluding to the fast bowlers getting help from the surface, it will be favourable to both teams.”
Bairstow has also played his 100th ODI in Dharamsala and asked about the venue, he said, “Cape Town is my favourite but don’t think there is a more picturesque ground in the world than Dharamsala.”
The feisty cricketer is yet to make an impact in the series and that will serve as an added motivation in his milestone game.
“It would be nice! Like in every game, you put your best foot forward. No matter what it is, I’ll be going out there, chewing my gum, puffing my chest out and trying to have a good time with the other 10 blokes out there. Whatever the situation is, we’ll be going out there with smiles on our faces, like we have done in the whole series.”
Bairstow plays with his heart on his sleeve and also has a good sense of humour, which was evident in the media interaction on Tuesday.
“We’re not doing anthems so that’s a good thing. But it will be an emotional week … I’m proud, you know what I’m like, an emotional guy so yeah, get the tissues ready,” he said on a lighter note.
He was also asked to pick his three favourite Tests.
“It’s difficult. One of my favourite games where we didn’t get over the line was the game at Lord’s, Strauss’ last game which was incredible to be a part of. To play against that South African team at their pomp was special.
“The Cape Town hundred in 2016 was a special time again for the family and myself. Maybe not the first one…it’s difficult when you’re put on the spot.
“It teeters between Trent Bridge against New Zealand and then the Test match at Edgbaston against India (in 2022). It’s difficult to go beyond that summer, they were pretty special Test matches in the way the group came together and the way in which everyone bought into a style of playing cricket that the world started speaking about.”
(With PTI inputs)


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