Criticism of my keeping

England’s Jonny Bairstow says criticism of his wicketkeeping in the Ashes has been “out of order”.

Bairstow was preferred to Ben Foakes behind the stumps after nine months out of the England side with a broken leg.

He missed eight chances across the first three Tests but took a superb catch in the fourth and followed it up with a thrilling 99 not out.

“There’s been some chitter-chatter and opinions that have been rather interesting at times,” said Bairstow.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the 33-year-old said: “I have not played in 10 months and not kept properly in three years so the two combined, there are going to be challenges.

“There has been a lot of talk, some of which has been out of order. At the same time that is part and parcel of people that have an opinion and that have a say.

“There have been times [when] if people had a conversation with you individually and found out a bit more about the injury or the ankle and how everything is going they may have a slightly different view.”

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Bairstow, who made six Test centuries in 2022, suffered a freak injury while playing golf in August. He required surgery after breaking his leg in three places and dislocating his ankle.

“When there are nine pins, a six-inch plate and a wire through your ankle and you are told you might not walk properly again, never mind run again or play professional sport, I am immensely proud of the determination I have shown and the commitment to get back playing at this level so quickly,” he added.

“There is no hiding place but the determination and support from my friends and family and the people who have really been there through thick and thin, I can’t thank them enough.”

In Bairstow’s absence, Harry Brook established himself as England’s number five, meaning the only way that Bairstow could regain his place would be to oust Foakes, whom captain Ben Stokes had described as the “best wicketkeeper in the world”.

When Bairstow returned to play for Yorkshire in May, it was the first time he had kept wicket in a first-class match for almost two years.

Subsequently chosen to keep in the Ashes, he has endured a difficult series, not only being untidy behind the stumps but also as the victim of Alex Carey’s controversial stumping in the second Test at Lord’s.

On the first day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, however, Bairstow took a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Mitchell Marsh before playing a scintillating innings on day three.

Bairstow crashed four sixes, added 66 for the last wicket with James Anderson, and was only denied a hundred when Anderson was lbw to Cameron Green.

Bairstow’s knock helped England to 592 all out. Australia were reduced to 113-4 by the close on Friday, 162 behind, and with the forecast of rain for the weekend perhaps the only obstacle to England levelling the series at 2-2.

In a punchy media conference at the end of the day, Bairstow said he had no comment on the Carey stumping, then gave reporters his view on criticism of his keeping.

“Whether it’s fair or not, it’s up to you guys to decide, because you guys are writing the different bits,” he said. “I’ve completely switched off from everything, I’ve just been told a few snippets.

“Keeping after not keeping [for a long period], it’s one of those things that takes a bit of time, [regardless] of the ankle. It would be like you guys taking a three-year sabbatical and then coming back and writing to the same level which you do, day-in day-out. I’m sure you wouldn’t necessarily find it easy.

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