An Interview with Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow Interview
by Dave Gilbank
Let’s get the surname out of the way first. Yes, he’s the son of the legendary Yorkshire captain, the late, great David and yes, he’s even a wicket-keeper who can bat. Or a batsman who can keep. But to compare him with his father is unfair, and frankly there’s a good chance that Jonathan might step out of his father’s shadow and eclipse his old man’s considerable achievements. Followers of Yorkshire Cricket’s fortunes must hope so.
Certainly you only have to speak with this impressive, young, flame-haired athlete for a few minutes to judge that he will go far. He’s a serious dude with attitude. A leader. “I like being under pressure,” explains the recently graduated St Peters student. “And I enjoy situations where the odds are against us.”
It didn’t take long for Jonny Bairstow to show his determination to succeed. Only a few months out of school, and he broke into the Yorkshire second XI and in just a few months scored a couple of centuries against some quality opposition. He was even selected in the first team squad for Yorkshire’s last game of the season against Sussex, only to miss out at the last minute when the injured player he was to replace recovered in time for the match.
“It was unlucky for me, but great for the team,” says a straight-faced Jonathan. “I got a lot of experience from even being selected. Next year, if I keep scoring runs then I hope the first team will come calling again. I’m a great believer that if you keep focusing on your own game, then you should get your opportunity.”
If that sounds like impressive stuff, then get a load of the next bit. “For a time I played a lot of sports – I played at Leeds United for seven years, I played Rugby Union at fly-half for Yorkshire Schools, and Hockey for Leeds Met, and it came to a stage where I had to make a decision, and so I made the choice: cricket.”
“My dream would be to represent England”
It seems rugby, football, and hockey’s loss is cricket’s gain – and not just Yorkshire Cricket. “Of course, my dream would be to represent England and play in the Ashes, but there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before then… a lot of hard work. Bring it on.”
Cricket fans everywhere rejoice – I’ve got a feeling that in a few short years the sound of that familiar chorus – thousands of hoarse throats lubricated by six-plus pints of Tetley’s, chanting ‘Bairstow’ over and over will erupt out of Headingley like a volcano, washing all the way up to the Skyrack and Brian’s Fish and Chips. Can’t wait.
Pictures: David Lindsay
Editor’s Update: Since this interview Jonny has gone on to be become an integral part of the England Test, One Day and 20-20 teams. He was also pivotal in helping Yorkshire to double County Championships in 2014 and 2015