Jonny Bairstow vows to play all three formats ‘as long as possible’, in wake of Ben Stokes’ ODI retirement

Jonny Bairstow has vowed to continue as a three-format international cricketer but added his voice to that of his team-mates who have expressed their dismay at a crowded calendar.
The workload of international cricketers has come under scrutiny over the past week, especially in England after Ben Stokes urged authorities to stop viewing players as ‘cars’ following his retirement from ODI cricket.
“You can’t just fill us up and we’ll go out and be ready to fill up again,” Stokes said, hoping his words would be a wake-up call to create a more manageable schedule. Overnight Australian batter Usman Khawaja described the physical and mental demands of giving oneself to all international cricket and franchise cricket as “heavy”.

As it stands, Bairstow will be the only player to represent England in all three formats this summer. He played the four Tests against New Zealand and India, followed by ODIs against India and South Africa, and is currently part of the squad for the three-game T20i series against the Proteas, which starts next week. He will also play in the first three matches of The Hundred for Welsh Fire.

Bairstow knows full well how brutal the program is. However, from his perspective, aged 32 and now a vital cog at No. 5 on the test team, as well as ODI opener and T20i mid-range batter, he still wants it all.

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad that I’m one of the last players in all formats,” Bairstow told Sky Sports on Friday ahead of the second ODI against South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford. “But of course there are challenges, we’ve seen that for a while now. We only had to watch the Test series this summer when there was the one-day squad in the Netherlands at the same time. I think even if you look at the back of this one too summer, there are the seven T20s in Pakistan that pretty much overlap with the last test match and it even goes back to the last World Cup where you then fly straight to the Ashes with a week of prep after quarantine, then straight to the test match.

“But you know me well enough now: I will try to play them all as long as possible. I will do everything I can for as long as I can. There may come a time when you have to make a decision for various reasons, but that is part of life and cricket but in the near future I don’t see myself making a choice because I love being part of all three squads they are all individual squads and they “It’s great to be a part of to make. It is exciting. You go to a new one and you have a freshness and new faces and energy around them, because you go into a new format.”

Bairstow also added to the sentiments of Stokes and Joe Root, who said the product on the pitch will suffer if players have to drop formats completely, or if there is simply more rotation in squads. However, Bairstow also resigned themselves to the fact that there is little else they can do until their words are acted upon by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“I don’t think we have a choice, do we?” he said. “The schedule is the schedule. It’s hard to say if you want to play less, but Stokesy has a point in some ways with the overlapping games out there. There used to be introductions to series and training days before matches, but there are backups. to-back games are coming now.

They try to fit in different things like the Hundred and everything else. It’s a tough job for everyone, but Ben was talking about a car and refueling, wasn’t he, which I thought was a good analogy. But yes, it has certain effects, and if you play everything at full intensity, it will get people out of the way.”

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