Head coach of the Welsh Fire franchise in The Hundred, Gary Kirsten has confirmed that his team will be without Jonny Bairstow for a huge chunk in the inaugural edition, with the batsman set to feature in the India Test matches. Kirsten revealed that he had planned to make Bairstow captain.
England’s white-ball behemoth Jonny Bairstow could miss a significant part of the inaugural season of ‘The Hundred’, as Welsh Fire coach Gary Kirsten has confirmed that the 31-year-old will instead be plying his trade for England in the five-Test series against India. Bairstow was set to captain Welsh Fire, but the ECB’s decision has thrown a spanner in the franchise’s works. Speaking to Talksport on the eve of The Hundred, Kirsten confirmed that he has been informed by the England management that they are planning to include Bairstow in the extended squad for the five-Test series against India starting next month.
“We’re hearing that Jonny Bairstow, who we’ve kind of designated as our captain, is now suddenly becoming a Test cricketer again,” Kirsten told Talk Sport.
“We could have him for maybe one or two games.I was keen for him to captain the side and he was keen as well. He wants to broaden his game a little bit. He’s a great player, he’s very competitive and he’s got a way of playing that’s very endearing for short-format cricket, so I’m looking forward to working with him. We’ve had a fair amount of conversations already.”
Welsh Fire have already been weakened by the withdrawal of Kieron Pollard, and now the Bairstow news comes as a hammer blow. Kirsten, however, stressed that franchisees will need to take these developments on the chin and move on, given they are uncontrollable.
“It is what it is. If he’s getting a chance to play Test cricket for England and we’re not going to have him, that’s the priority, it’s as simple as that. We need to accept and move with the times.”
Bairstow’s last Test appearance came in the infamous Ahmedabad leg of the India tour, where he registered three ducks in four innings. The right-hander has not played a Test at home since Ashes 2019.