A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

Jonny B: Not Good

Posted on November 20, 2015 by in Opinion, Tests


We need to get it on record that we don’t have anything against gingers per se, even though we may have previously joked about exterminating them all for the good of the human race. For a start, in these post-mining boom times, gingers buying sun cream are basically propping up the Australian economy. And we’re big fans of Ben Stokes, particularly in the way that he batted with a knackered shoulder in an unsurprisingly forlorn attempt to add 150 for England’s last two wickets in Sharjah. So just to confirm: definitely not ginger haters.

Although the main reason we're not so hard on Eoin Morgan is that we're worried about him slicing us up.

Although the main reason we’re not so hard on Eoin Morgan is that we’re worried about him slicing us up.

Having said that, quite how Jonny Bairstow keeps getting a gig in the Test side is beyond us. More than anyone in recent memory – given that we’ve already used gin to forget Adam Lyth – Bairstow screams ‘not good enough for Test cricket’ with every single ‘not good enough for Test cricket’ performance. Every innings is a throwback to a list of Unlikely Lads from the good old days, when the likes of Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash, Rob Key and John Crawley spent years not quite making the grade, moving in and out of a rubbish side,  repeatedly plundering runs at county level and failing dismally in international cricket before eventually being put out to pasture.

But how does Bairstow compare to those greats from the past, along with some of his more relevant peers? Well, pretty badly as it turns out. With ginger Jonny now at the 20 match mark, we can take the equivalent stage of the career of our other failures – if they even made it that far – and compare the results in a nice table:

PlayerMatchesRuns scoredBatting averageHighest score
M Ali1983327.77108*

Pretty damning stuff. Of our ragtag bunch of 13 failures and peers (plus Owais Shah, who we included just to make a point), Bairstow sits eleventh in terms of batting average and ninth in terms of highest score. The likes of Moeen Ali and Stokes also have the advantage of being all-rounders, regularly contributing with the ball. All Bairstow has is a couple of shoddy attempts at keeping wicket, complete with missed stumpings, dropped catches and loads of sunburn.

And this is where, not for the first time, the question of what Bairstow is actually supposed to be doing rears its ugly (ginger) head. Is he supposed to be a top order batsmen? Or a wicketkeeper who also chips in with runs from down the order? If it’s the former, then he has clearly failed the audition. 20 Tests is a good enough sample size to make a conclusion about a batsman and the conclusion here is pretty easy to make: he’s not very good. If Bairstow is instead in the side as a proper keeper then things are a little more complicated.

Like trying to find some factor 5,000 in New Zealand.

Like trying to find some factor 5,000 in New Zealand.

Batting at number seven is a specific challenge these days, often requiring quick scoring to build on the platform of the top six, along with some shepherding of the tail. In other words, it’s a role tailor-made for Moeen Ali in the current England side. Which gets us to the point that we’re trying to make: if England don’t actually expect their wicketkeeper to make that many runs, then they may as well pick the best man with the gloves. In our book (which we’re not going to release until we’re in a position of strength), that’s either James Foster or Chris Read. Or Alex Barrow, if we’re really, really drunk.

Whichever keeper it is, he can bat at eight, with Moeen at seven. This allows England to keep their five man bowling attack, while actually having a proper keeper who will probably chip in with a few runs here and there while not missing crucial stumpings on regular occasions. Of course there is literally zero chance of this happening, and instead England will persevere with Bairstow, with predictably disappointing results for everyone who isn’t Banana Boat.



Post a Comment


Nichael Bluth

24 Oct 2016 01:40

In our mad pursuit of the scoop, we members of the press sometimes…make mistakes. 51allout would like to make the following corrections:

If you are reading this you have no life.
Our readers are not pathetic, sexless food tubes.
Tim Bresnan never weighed 400 pounds.
Giles Clarke is evil.
Bob Willis is a robot.
The people who are writing this have no life.


Tom Moore

23 Oct 2016 15:54

Presumably, we’re all now feeling just a little silly.


Nichael Bluth

21 Nov 2015 03:59

I’d class Prior more in the ‘relevant peers’ section myself.


Matt Larnach

21 Nov 2015 03:51

A disgusting climb down from your previous staunch adherence to anti-gingerism.

51allout has sold out.



20 Nov 2015 20:23

I suppose at the 20 (ish) game stage he would have been considered a failure, given that he got dropped for Tiny Tim Ambrose and his square cut. Although the failure was really with his keeping rather than his batting.


Tim Bresnan’s Heavy Ball

20 Nov 2015 17:30

Is Matt Prior considered to have been a failure now?


Matthew L

20 Nov 2015 13:07

But my point is this, Jonny Bairstow isn’t good enough


Matthew L

20 Nov 2015 13:05

I would like to make the point that the Chris Read / James Foster shout is my Intellectual Property, and that my lawyers have already been notified of this shameful breach of copyright

Good Day Sirs