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Rediff.com  » Cricket » My 100th Test cap is for my mother: Jonny Bairstow

My 100th Test cap is for my mother: Jonny Bairstow

Source: PTI
March 04, 2024 18:42 IST
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IMAGE: The England wicketkeeper-batter is set to play his 100th Test in Dharamsala. Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

Set to achieve a major milestone of playing his 100th Test this week, England wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow dedicated the achievement to his cancer-survivor mother who has been his driving force and kept the family together through the difficult times.

The 34-year-old will become the 17th Englishman to win 100th Test cap when he steps out for the fifth and final Test against India starting in Dharamsala on Thursday and it will be an emotional week for Bairstow, who endured a tough childhood and a long career-threatening injury.

 

"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," he told 'Telegraph Sport'.

Bairstow was just 8 when his father David, a former England wicketkeeper, died by suicide. His mother Janet kept the family together even as she battled 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."

"Will look to put on a show"

Bairstow said he was desperate to become a Test cricketer while growing up watching his heroes and would look to put on a show during the fifth Test.

"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."

‘Greatest challenge’

Bairstow had a freak accident in the golf course in 2022, leaving him with a broken leg, a dislocated ankle and associated ligament damage and 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.

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