How opting to live with IPL will benefit England in the long run, according to Yorkshire CCC’s Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow is confident England will reap the benefits of their evolving relationship with the Indian Premier League.

A MAN FOR ALL FORMATS: Jonny Bairstow sweeps to leg side on day four of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and England at Galle.

Picture courtesy of Sri Lanka Cricket (via ECB. 
January 25 2021
A MAN FOR ALL FORMATS: Jonny Bairstow sweeps to leg side on day four of the second Test match between Sri Lanka and England at Galle. Picture courtesy of Sri Lanka Cricket (via ECB. January 25 2021

Having already been retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad, Yorkshire batsman Bairstow was an interested observer during the tournament’s latest auction yesterday.

He watched on from the England Test camp in Ahmedabad as rival franchises splashed well over £1m apiece on the likes of Chris Morris, Jhye Richardson and Kyle Jamieson.

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England all-rounder Moeen Ali also landed a handsome deal with Chennai Super Kings, picking up just under £700,000, while Bairstow’s Yorkshire team-mate Dawid Malan and Tom Curran also joined the ranks with Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals.

BIG HITTER: Jonny Bairstow hits out during the 1st Twenty20 International between South Africa and England at Newlands last November. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.

In years gone by, the IPL presented a major issue for the ECB, but the tournament is now an accepted part of the landscape.

Not only have England chosen to rest players from international duty this winter while allowing them to take up IPL commitments, it has also been reported that anyone still involved in the tournament’s play-offs will be excused from the first Test of the summer against New Zealand.

That could mean any of Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran or Moeen find themselves 5,000 miles away, while Joe Root leads his side out at Lord’s against the world’s No 1 side.

Bairstow sidestepped the issue directly, with the IPL’s final dates yet to be announced, but was clear about the wider value of the competition to English cricket.

YOU'RE IN: Jonny Bairstow's England Yorkshire team-mate Dawid Malan has joined Punjab KIngs in the IPL. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

He said: “It’s part and parcel of the game at the moment. I think for guys who are white-ball contracted... you can’t say ‘don’t go’ because that’s kind of the contract they’ve got in England.

“If the guys are going to IPL and improving their skills, that doesn’t mean it’s just T20 skills. It’s improving their skills for ODI cricket and for Test cricket.

“It covers all three formats. Playing alongside some of the best players in the world, not to mention in conditions similar to ones we are playing in currently and especially with a T20 World Cup coming up here in India. It covers all three formats.

“I don’t believe there are priorities. If you look at our away record I think we’ve won six out of our last seven Tests and the (strong) performances we’ve had in ODI and T20 cricket over the last 12-24 months.

“Those results don’t come by prioritising one format over another. All three formats for England have been producing results.”

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