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England criticised over use of Bairstow
Ray Illingworth, the former Yorkshire and England batsman, has criticised the way Jonny Bairstow was treated by England over the winter.
Illingworth, a member of Yorkshire's brains trust, warmed up for the Headingley Test by having a chunter on the subject of the England management who overlooked Bairstow as wicketkeeper in one-day cricket.
Bairstow's place in the England Test side is held to be most vulnerable assuming Kevin Pietersen recovers in time for the Ashes and Illingworth felt he was treated poorly during the winter programme in India either side of Christmas and New Zealand in February and March.
"I was very disappointed for Bairstow during the winter, when I thought he was trailed around unnecessarily," he told the Yorkshire Post. "He went out there as the leading one-day wicketkeeper and never kept wicket, which I thought was very poor."
Bairstow played the second Test in India, where he made 9 in his only innings, stepping in for Ian Bell who left the tour on paternity leave but arrived back for the third Test. Bairstow then missed the one-day leg of the tour for family reasons and rejoined the England party in New Zealand. He played in the three T20 matches and the final Test in Auckland, scoring 3 and 6.
"Test-wise, there is nothing worse for a young player than being trailed around and not playing. Getting knocks in the nets is a waste of time. It was the worst thing they could have done for him. I had a season like that in 1955 with Yorkshire and, at the end of the season, I was nowhere near as good a player as I was at the start.
"If he is not going to keep wicket, he needs to be in the first four as that is where you need to bat if you are to be a major batsman. You can only get away with batting down to five at Test match level, although England are always going to play six batsmen, as they are frightened to death of playing an extra bowler. They will never change."
Jos Buttler has assumed the the gloves in one-day cricket and Bairstow has failed to win a place as a specialist batsman and has scored 119 runs at 23.80 in seven ODIs.