IND v ENG 2024: Jonny Bairstow dedicates 100th Test cap to mother, hopes his dad is looking down proudly

The Dharamsala Test will mark Bairstow’s 100th appearance in the longest format of the game.

Jonny Bairstow | GettyIndia and England are set to square off in the fifth and final Test match in Dharamsala from March 7. While the hosts have already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, there's a lot to play for England keeping in mind the World Test Championship (WTC) points table.

The Dharamsala Test will also mark veteran England batter Jonny Bairstow’s 100th appearance in the longest format of the game.

Ahead of his landmark game, Bairstow dedicated the achievement to his mother, a cancer survivor, whose resilience has been the driving force behind his journey.

"When I play, there are times I think about Dad. But I think more about how hard Mum worked to make sure we were OK after everything that happened. To keep us together as a family. That has been my driving force," Bairstow told 'Telegraph Sport'.

Bairstow was only 8 when his father David, a former England wicketkeeper, committed suicide. His mother Janet held the family together even as she fought and defeated breast cancer twice.

"My mum is the embodiment of strength. There was a determination there. She worked three jobs and had two kids that were under 10 at a difficult time. She was taking me to Leeds United (where he played youth football), to Headingley, all sorts of other places.

"It's paying all that back, making sure they are OK, creating a life for my own family as well.

"She had cancer twice. She's a bloody strong woman, to get through that twice, before you even consider anything else she's been through, and it shows the strength and determination of the woman."

Bairstow has often been compared to his dad and the 34-year-old hopes "he's sitting up there, having a beer, looking down proudly, and enjoying the week."

Set to join an elite list of 17 English cricketers who have achieved the feat of playing 100 Tests for the country, Bairstow opened up on his aspiration to become a Test cricketer while growing up watching his heroes and would look to put on a show in Dharamsala.

"I didn't grow up watching one-day cricket, I grew up watching Test cricket. It was everything to me. I loved [Michael] Vaughan, [Marcus] Trescothick, KP [Kevin Pietersen]," he said.

"I remember going to Headingley, watching England do an indoor net session. They were in the Vodafone blue tracksuits, and I was in awe of it. It inspired me and I was desperate to be a part of it."

"It's going to be an emotional week. I want to enjoy the occasion, and try to put on a show with the lads for the amazing fans that follow us around the world."

Bairstow had sustained a lower limb injury in a freak accident in September 2023. As a result, he missed the T20 World Cup 2022 and the subsequent away Test tours of Pakistan and New Zealand.

The injury saw the 34-year-old break his fibula in three places, which needed a complex surgical intervention. The surgery and rehabilitation kept him out of action for an extended period.

Jonny Bairstow said recovering from that injury was his "greatest challenge".

"I think making it back from that [the injury] is number one. For the surgeon to say how bad it was after I've made it back, that hit me a lot harder than I expected it to.

"They told me at the time that it was bad, but they didn't tell me that they knew it should have been career-ending.

"To get back from that, to get through six Test matches keeping wicket and batting as I did [last summer], just a few months after that injury. I know people will talk about how I performed, they can do that. But I was so proud to do that. I didn't know if I was going to make it back," he said.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 05 Mar, 2024

    Share Via