England wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow, on Monday, got emotional after receiving his late father's wicket keeping gloves from an Australian fan - Mr Andrew Johns on the Day 3 of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval. Jr Bairstow said the "fantastic gesture" meant a lot to him.
Actually, the matter is that a young boy called Andrew Johns won a pair of wicketkeeping gloves in a quiz signed by England's Test keeper David Bairstow, who was reserve keeper of the side during the 978/79 Ashes tour. He took his own life when his son Jonny was eight years old.
Since then, the young boy always followed Sr Bairstow as he had his gloves and autograph. Johns further added that he had always wanted to meet Jonny Bairstow whenever he came to Adelaide and he also tried many times to contact Jr Bairstow and even on social media (Instagram), although there were little chances of a response from him to his message as he had 100,000 followers.
According to a report in Grandstand, Mr Andrew Johns told reporters, “I've had them for 39 years … my mum and dad took me to West Lakes shopping centre [in Adelaide] and the English cricket team were there to meet. They had a little quiz — they asked who the reserve wicketkeeper was for England and I shot my hand up, and said David Bairstow, and they gave them a pair of gloves and he signed them. I've had them sitting in a box for the last 39 years.”
Finally, he managed to have a meeting with Jonny Bairstow at Adelaide Oval, adding “I got a message back that night saying, 'It would be nice to meet you', from his management or whatever. I went to bed, woke up at 6:00 am, I had a message saying: 'I'd love to meet you, I'm staying just across from the ground'. I came in, I brought [the gloves] with me. I was early, quite excited to meet him, and sent him a message saying: 'I'm here'. He came out two minutes later, and we had a good half an hour, 45 minutes together which was wonderful. He was quite emotional to receive the gloves, it was really lovely.”
Mr Johns also said that he thought Jr Bairstow would want something that belonged to his father, so he wanted to gift his father’s gloves to him. He further added, “I just lost my father this year in June — he was 83, but had a great life — and I know if someone gave something to me that belonged to my father I'd want it, and that's what I wanted to do for Jonny.”
Read More: England are yet to impress Ricky Ponting
While speaking about his meeting with Bairstow, Mr Johns concluded by saying, “He's a ripping bloke. My dad used to say if you ever meet a Yorkshireman he's as close to an Australian as you'll get, down to earth with a laugh and a beer and tell you how it is, and he's exactly all of those.”
Meanwhile, England keeper said that the gesture was “very special” for him. He told ABC Radio, “It's something that is always very special. I've been fortunate enough to go all over the world, and all over the world people have some fond stories of Dad.”