The Ashes 2023: Johnny Bairstow scored an unbeaten 99 in the fourth Test, gave a befitting reply to the critics, said a big thing

England wicketkeeper-batsman Johnny Bairstow Has responded to criticism of his performances this summer following his return from injury. He highlighted how his injury could have ended his career and is grateful for where he is physically and as a player. Since returning to cricket this summer after a long injury lay-off, Bairstow has faced a lot of criticism for his wicketkeeping. Many fans trolled him a lot for missing many chances of catching and stumping. Also, he didn’t really continue with the batsmen that made him captain Ben Stokes And made coach Brendon McCullum the face of the much-hyped ‘baseball’ era, which began only last year.

Bairstow made 99 not out

During the Ashes series, after a brilliant half-century in the first Test at Birmingham, Bairstow had poor performances in the next two matches. But here in Manchester, in the fourth Ashes Test, he gave a befitting reply to his critics with his unbeaten 99 off just 81 balls. In this innings, the same glimpse of his talent was seen, for which he was praised as a batsman last year. Talking to Sky Sports, he said, ‘I am happy to play. Everyone thinks I play better when people come to me and to be honest it gets a bit tiring.

I was called rubbish: Bairstow

Responding to his criticism, he said, ‘I have played a lot of cricket now, and being told: ‘You are rubbish,’ well, if I were rubbish, I would not have played 94 games. I want to come out and enjoy, entertain. People will comment on the way I bat, they always have, and it will continue, but you can leave them to their comments and I will keep doing what I do in the middle. They can say whatever they want to say. They are paid to have opinions. If he has no opinion, then he has no work.

I still have plates and wires in my leg: Bairstow

Describing his journey as ups and downs, Bairstow said that before this series, he had not kept wickets for three years and he is happy with the position he is at after such a scary injury. He said, ‘I have not done wicketkeeping for three years. I’ve got nine pins, a plate and a wire that goes through my ankle. It’s an integral part of it, I have nine months. There is no shortage of overs. It’s only been 10 months since I got operated. So when you talk to the surgeon and he says: ‘I’m surprised you’re walking and running, let alone playing professional sport,’ I’m happy where I am.’

England’s approach has not changed

The 33-year-old player said, ‘I am happy where I am physically. There’s been a lot of corruption, it’s been a rollercoaster, a lot has happened in those nine months, and to be back on the field again with a group of boys I care about so much is special for me. You didn’t know how bad it was going to get. This could have ended my career. It could have happened exactly like this. He said England would not change their approach under Stokes-McCullum and expressed his gratitude to family and friends who stood by him during his 10 months away from the game.

England dressing room solid

On the question of baseball, Bairstow said, ‘I don’t think the approach has changed throughout the series. This has been questioned many times by you (media), but we have always stuck to this strategy. Since Ben Stokes became in-charge of the team, we have played our cricket in exactly the same way and we are sticking to it. He said, ‘Whenever I wear the England shirt, I feel very proud. It means a lot to me. To come back and be available for selection for the Ashes is something that makes me extremely proud. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family, and they’ve supported me throughout the winter. Our dressing room is very solid. We have a special group of players there and a group that will fight for each other with all their heart.