Jonny Bairstow puts 'difficult week' behind him in match-winning performance

Jonny Bairstow admitted it had been a difficult week leading into England’s crucial match against India and said his comments about the public’s attitude towards the England team were misinterpreted. Bairstow was embroiled in a public spat with former England captain, Michael Vaughan, who branded the opener’s comments as a sign of a “pathetic and negative mindset” on Twitter.

“Yes it has been a difficult week,” said Bairstow. “In the week it was a fantastic day with Yorkshire Tea representing National Cricket Week. It was a brilliant morning at a school. We had a really good round-table interview, then quotes get sent out and misinterpreted in so many ways. At no point have I said the public is not behind us. The interview had taken place with 6-8-10 journos around in a very jovial, relaxed manner. To read how it was taken was very disappointing. There’s nothing you can change about the past… yesterday’s news is today’s fish and chip paper, that’s the saying isn’t it?”

Bairstow responded to the imbroglio with a Player-of-the-Match performance against India, his century and 160-run partnership with Jason Roy paving the way for England’s 31-run victory. There is a theory that criticism brings out the best in Bairstow but when asked if the brouhaha had spurred him on, he demurred.

Watch on Hotstar (India only): Bairstow’s century

“I’m not saying I want everyone to come out and abuse me!” said Bairstow with good humour. “There are different ways you can look at it. Along the way people question things so it’s important to recognise different scenarios where you are trying your best. You always go out trying to make a hundred and sometimes it comes off and sometimes you nick one or it doesn’t work out. I was pleased with my performance today.”

As the Bairstow and Vaughan story drew heat, both Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan poured cool water over any suggestions that the England camp felt unsupported. Buttler spoke about the forces of “external pressures”. At Edgbaston those pressures resulted in a diamond of an innings from Bairstow and after the match Morgan added weight to the theory that Bairstow punches hardest in the face of adversity.

“He does tend to get fired up a lot, and that suits him regardless of what’s happened during the week, any week, injuries or not,” said Morgan. “He likes a bit of fire in his belly, and I don’t mind that when he comes out and plays like that and feels like the way he did. I think it’s outstanding. It’s definitely a match-winning knock. So we’re delighted for him.”

This was Bairstow’s first century of the World Cup and he rated it as one of his most important innings.

“I was pleased to get over the line in a World Cup,” said Bairstow. “There’s only so many times you get the chance to make a century in a World Cup and I was very disappointed when I got 90 a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely up there, with the speculation and everything and the position we found ourselves in. It was great to go out there and contribute to what was a very big win today.

“‘It’s a game that keeps us in the World Cup and keeps our fate in our own hands rather than rely on others around the country. The way the guys went about it was truly outstanding.”

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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