Veteran England pacer James Anderson opened up on Jonny Bairstow’s altercation with India star Virat Kohli during the Edgbaston Test, saying that the English batter was unimpressed by Kohli’s sledging. Anderson further said that one should avoid provoking Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow and Kohli were involved in a heated exchange on Day 3 of the rescheduled fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Kohli seemed unhappy with Bairstow after the latter said something to Kohli. Although Bairstow tried to calm things down, Kohli didn’t back down and gave him peace of mind.
Kohli asked Bairstow to stop talking and focus on batting. Even the two on-field umpires, Aleen Dar and Richard Kettleborough, were forced to intervene and calm things down between the two players.
“Jonny was 80 not out and Virat had been going at him and sledging him a lot. I don’t know if you saw the strike-rate difference? His strike rate was about 20 before Virat started sledging him and about 150 after.
“His first words back in the dressing room at lunch were: ‘When will they learn to shut it?’ If there’s somebody you don’t want to rub up the wrong way, it is Jonny Bairstow,” said Anderson on BBC Tailenders Podcast.
Bairstow is currently the leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year, making 994 runs in eight matches at an average of 76.46, including six centuries and a fifty.
Bairstow revealed that McCullum called him up before the Tests against New Zealand in June and that he would be batting at number five.
“Before we played New Zealand, there was a chat about going to the IPL and not playing county cricket but Baz (McCullum) phoned me, said I was batting five in the Tests, to get my head around it and crack on.
“Baz also spoke to me a bit about imposing myself on the game — nothing technical. That can be tricky in red-ball cricket because you don’t want to look like you’re slogging. I had two nets before the first game, so finding the balance was interesting. I played a shot-a-ball at Lord’s (scoring one and 16) which didn’t go down too well and then found the balance better at Trent Bridge (scoring 136).”
Bairstow also credited freedom and clarity from McCullum for being the driving force behind him, slamming four centuries in his last five Test innings. “It’s the freedom we have now. We’re not in hotel rooms, bubbles, having to do Covid tests every day and we can do normal things like go to the shop, go for a beer, see your friends and family. All of those things accumulate together and obviously the excitement of working with Baz (McCullum) and the clarity he gave everyone.”
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