YORKSHIRE and England star Jonny Bairstow will miss up to the first six weeks of the season with a broken finger.
Bairstow has been diagnosed with a fractured left ring finger after visiting a specialist in Leeds yesterday.
The 24-year-old sustained the injury on Tuesday on the opening day of Yorkshire’s three-day practice match at Northamptonshire when diving to take a leg-side delivery from Liam Plunkett.
At first it was thought the injury was not serious, but after returning home to Yorkshire yesterday, both player and club’s worst fears were confirmed.
The news comes as a big blow to Yorkshire ahead of Sunday’s opening County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton, with second team wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd now likely to deputise. It is also a significant blow to Bairstow’s hopes of retaining his Test place.
If he is indeed ruled out for six weeks, he would miss the first five Championship games and the start of the NatWest T20 Blast. It would leave only three weeks and a maximum of two Championship matches in which to press his claims for the first Test of the summer against Sri Lanka at Lord’s on June 12.
Last night, Yorkshire’s first team coach Jason Gillespie said: “It is a devastating blow for Jonny. He has been working incredibly hard to put in some strong performances for Yorkshire during the early part of the season to enhance his England credentials.
“It is a great shame for him and I know that he is really disappointed with the news. He will be working hard on his rehab and we remain hopeful that if the fracture can heal quickly, he could be back sooner.”
Gillespie described the injury as “innocuous” and added: “In most circumstances, Jonny would take that ball 100 times without any problems, but things like this can happen in sport. It is how you deal with it that matters most, and I know that with his positivity, Jonny will be chomping at the bit to get back to playing for Yorkshire as soon as possible.”
Alex Lees hit 106 yesterday in Yorkshire’s 316 reply to Northamptonshire’s 283-5dec.
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