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Released Bairstow free to play for Yorkshire

ESPNcricinfo staff
May 29, 2012
Jonny Bairstow's struggled with the short ball at Trent Bridge © Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow has been released by the ECB to play for Yorkshire in this week's County Championship match against Northamptonshire after limited time at the crease during his first two Tests involving West Indies.

Bairstow, who made his debut at Lord's, was given a torrid working over by Kemar Roach in England's first innings at Trent Bridge. He was struck on the body first ball before gloving a sharp bouncer short of the slips and eventually got a leading edge to mid-on off Roach. His performance began a debate about whether he has a significant issue against short-pitched bowling.

It is high unlikely that England will drop him for the final Test at Edgbaston; now that the series is won it is an ideal opportunity to give him further exposure at the top level. However, with South Africa providing the next Test opponents his place is not secure. His outing in the Championship will allow him a less intense atmosphere to regain some confidence although he will not be facing anyone approaching Roach's pace.

Bairstow's early-season runs for Yorkshire were one of the main reasons behind his call up for the first Test after Ravi Bopara was injured. He scored 182 against Leicestershire at Scarborough and an earlier hundred against Kent. Bairstow scored 16 in his first innings at Lord's, as well as showing his prowess in the covers with a direct-hit run-out to remove Kirk Edwards, before a more uncomfortable outing in Nottingham.

He made his international debut in September 2011 with a match-winning innings against India in the final ODI in Cardiff. He impressed for England Lions over the winter as well the main Twenty20 squad against Pakistan.

The England No. 6 slot in Test cricket has been the only position of much change in recent seasons with England failing to find a regular replacement for Paul Collingwood, who retired at the end of the 2010-11 Ashes series. Eoin Morgan was given the first chance before his loss of form in the UAE saw him dropped for England's tour of Sri Lanka. There, England opted to move Matt Prior to No. 6 and selected Samit Patel to bat at No. 7 as the second spinner.

Bairstow is the only member of England's side at Trent Bridge to be released for County Championship action this week although Steven Finn and Graham Onions, who were in the 13-man squad, will be available for Middlesex and Durham respectively. The pace-bowling could be vying for a place at Edgbaston if England decide to rest of their frontline quicks.

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