NICK SUMPTON’S COLUMN - Bairstow’s deserved call

England's (left to right) Stuart Broad, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior during the nets session at Lords Cricket Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 16, 2012. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.
England's (left to right) Stuart Broad, Jonny Bairstow and Matt Prior during the nets session at Lords Cricket Ground, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 16, 2012. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.

After writing last week that all three teams had completed a clean sweep of victories, this weekend was the complete contrast.

The 1st and 2nd XI were both beaten in their respective games, while the 3rd XI game was called off.

However, the first team bounced back with a convincing victory over Great Ayton in the National Knockout on Sunday.

While in the dressing room we flicked between watching the dramatic climax to the Premier League season on an iPhone, and Andrew Simpson blasting his way to 115 from 72 balls to help chase down 195.

Before that, Danny Evans and Jack Holt had reduced the visitors to 24-5. The eight-wicket win means that we will go on to play York in the next round of the competition.

This week, the 1st XI take on Doncaster Town at North Marine Road on Saturday followed by a trip to Appleby Frodingham in the cup on Sunday.

The 2nd XI travel to Hovingham and the 3rd XI have no fixture due to the make up of their division.

Hovingham is one of the most picturesque grounds I have ever played on, the idyllic village ground sits affectively in the back garden of Hovingham Hall.

The facilities have improved dramatically too, which makes the ground even more pleasurable to visit.

With depleted squads last week, the return of players will mean both sides should be stronger this weekend. Kunwar Bansil returns for the 1st XI, while I can expect Kawsar Ahmed to be available after taking part in the a national athletics competition at the Olympic Stadium last week and Jonathan Read to return to the 2nd XI from his trial with Yorkshire.

Adam Lyth got an opportunity to play in the Yorkshire side last week as Joe Root and Jonathan Bairstow impressed for the Lions against the West Indies.

That has resulted in Bairstow earning an England call for the West Indies Test Series while Adam is playing this week against Hampshire at Headingley.

It comes at the expense of Joe Sayers who has failed to get off to a good start this season and has been left out.

Lyth made 36 in Yorkshire’s only innings as the rain-affected game, which was destined to be a draw, was engineered into a situation where Yorkshire needed to chase 400 in 111 overs.

Yorkshire chose to forfeit their innings and let Gloucestershire bat again, to set the target of 400. A superb 160 from Phil Jaques and an unbeaten 121 from Gary Ballance took Yorkshire home as they put on 203 for the fourth wicket.

Some Yorkshire supporters on Twitter were saying it was a ‘hollow victory’ and it wasn’t a credible way to win a match.

I can’t agree. I think we all want to see results, and it still took discipline and a huge amount of skill to chase down the target. However, I was surprised to see the two captains agree to manufacture a situation where there could be a result so early in the season.

It’s a risky situation which Yorkshire have benefited from on this occasion, but if you end up on the wrong end of the result and come away with nothing, you can end up looking a little silly.

This week has seen the return of Test Match cricket with Bairstow included in the squad.

Bairstow has also been included in the team to play, and will bat at number six.

That leaves England with an explosive middle order of Pietersen, Bairstow and Prior, with Ian Bell slotting in between.

Bairstow has created himself a niche position within the England set up. He is in the squad as a specialist batsman, while he keeps wicket at Yorkshire ahead of Gerard Brophy.

Previously we have had good batsmen who can keep that haven’t made it into the team as just a specialist batsman which really shows the talent that Bairstow has.

He has fought off competition from Nick Compton who must have been in with a shout of a spot considering his rapid start to the County Championship season, but possibly Bairstow’s impressive ODI performances have edged him in over Compton.

Michael Carberry and Joe Root made runs for the Lions and will also be knocking on that door proving a great depth of English talent.

The other position that was up for debate was the final bowling slot.

Graeme Swann has to play, he is the best spinner in the world, regardless of the conditions.

The West Indies also have a number of left-handers which Swann dismisses for fun. Jimmy Anderson, England’s player of the year is also inked in, he and Dale Steyn are the World’s best at exploiting swinging conditions, something certain for the early Test Matches. Stuart Broad is all but guaranteed a place, favoured by the management, and good seam bowler and handy down the order with the bat.

That leaves Steven Finn, Graham Onions and my pick for the final spot, Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan, who has been given the nod ahead of the previously mentioned candidates.

While the previous two are both great bowlers and conditions will help Onions more so that Finn, Bresnan’s record for England of having won every Test he has played in speaks volumes, and he has got better with the ball in every game he has played on the international stage.

Furthermore, he averages 40.37 at number eight for England, probably the best average of any lower order batsman in the game at the moment.

As I’ve mentioned before, England should blow the West Indies away in this series, and only weather should interfere with a whitewash.