Geoffrey Boycott has launched a scathing criticism of England’s rotation policy. The former skipper claimed England should be ashamed for how they’ve handled Jonny Bairstow’s career.
The decision to rest Jonny Bairstow for the first two Tests against India hasn’t gone down well with several cricket pundits like Boycott and Michael Vaughan. Although Bairstow will return for the final two games, his absence has been severely questioned at a time when wicket-keeper-batsman Jos Buttler won’t be available for the remainder of the series.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Geoffrey Boycott slammed chief selector Ed Smith for resting Jonny Bairstow when England needed him the most.
“He (Bairstow) has always said he wants to follow his father as a keeper-batsman. He does not want to be just a specialist batsman but Smith has made that decision and I feel it is unfair. Jonny has missed his opportunity to keep wicket again and England should be ashamed of what they have done to him,” said Boycott.
Although an able customer behind the stumps, Jonny Bairstow has recently been playing as a specialist batsman. He didn’t keep wickets in the two Tests in Sri Lanka, and Ben Foakes will don the gloves for England in Jos Buttler’s absence.
Addressing the decision to rest Jonny Bairstow for the first two Tests, Geoffrey Boycott hinted of bias play. With Bairstow selected for the T20I series against India, Boycott suggested the 31-year-old must be confused with how England handle his selection.
"So I get Buttler leaving India but it is poor that Bairstow is not replacing him for the second Test. It has to be because Ed Smith (chief selector) wants to see this other kid, Foakes, get a go. Smith clearly does not want Jonny playing as a keeper-batsman. It seems as if England bring him in and push him out when it suits them. He must feel like a yo-yo," Boycott added.
Boycott claims rest ‘forced’ on Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow has been rested for the first two Tests against India as part of England’s rotation policy. The objective is to give all-format players time off as bio-bubbles can be mentally taxing.
While Jonny Bairstow himself seemed to be okay with the decision, Geoffrey Boycott claimed there was no need to rest the 31-year-old.
“Bairstow was not exactly looking for a rest, it has been forced on him. He would have been queuing up to stay in India and take the gloves. Jonny scored runs in Sri Lanka, he is used to India after two years in the IPL and he has a proven track record,” claimed Boycott.
Geoffrey Boycott also opened up on why Jonny Bairstow should have been part of England’s squad from the start. Aside from putting pressure on Jos Buttler, his presence in the squad would have given the visitors greater flexibility while choosing their playing 11.
“You would think England would welcome competition for places. It is good for the team. If Jonny came in and kept well and scored runs Buttler would realise he has to keep playing well to stay in the side. But no. That chance has gone and England will be weaker at a point when they should pick their best team to go 2-0 up in the series,” said Boycott.
The second Test of the four-match series will start in Chennai on Saturday.