Jonny Bairstow has opened up about his concerns regarding Australia’s fielding tactics during the Ashes 2023 series, shedding light on the controversial stumping incident and suspected catches. Bairstow’s comments come as part of his first detailed reflection on the contentious stumping by Alex Carey during the second Test at Lord’s.
In the final moments of the second Test, Jonny Bairstow strayed from his crease, and wicketkeeper Alex Carey executed a lobbed underarm throw at the stumps. Although the over had not been formally concluded, the Australian team chose not to withdraw their appeal. This led to claims from the English camp that while the stumping was technically within the rules, it had not been in the spirit of the game.
Despite the controversy surrounding the stumping, the decision stood, and the Australians went on to secure victory in the Test. This incident only added to the tension in a drawn series, which ultimately resulted in the English team declining to open the dressing rooms for the customary post-series drinks with Australia.
Jonny Bairstow’s comments on the issue were made public following the release of extracts from the book “Bazball” by Lawrence Booth and Nick Hoult in The Telegraph. The English cricketer stated, “The decision was that I was out, and I moved on. I’ve not brought it up since. I’ve kept quiet. It’s on them. If that’s how they want to go about it and win a cricket game or what have you, then so be it.”
Jonny Bairstow Talks About The Infamous Run-Out At Lords
In addition to Bairstow’s reflections, veteran all-rounder Moeen Ali also weighed in, suggesting that Australia missed an opportunity to exorcise any lingering doubts stemming from the 2018 Newlands ball-tampering saga. Ali expressed his view that the incident was out, and it could have been a chance for Australia to put to rest their association with the “Sandpapergate” scandal.
Jonny Bairstow highlighted the difference between attempting to gain an advantage through a stumping, as opposed to catching a batter unawares, which is what he believes Australia did. He argued that it was one thing to try and gain an edge strategically, but it was another to catch a batter who was unaware of the play.
“If you try to gain an advantage, then it’s fair game,” he said. “But if you’re starting in your crease, you’ve ducked, tap, tap, scratched. I’ve even dragged my bat, looked up, and then gone. I’ve never seen it happen from someone starting in their crease. I don’t think you want that filtering down into kids’ cricket.”
Jonny Bairstow also voiced doubts about certain catches taken by the Australian fielders during the Ashes. He questioned whether the ball had touched the ground before Steve Smith claimed a catch to dismiss Joe Root during day two at Lord’s. Additionally, Bairstow raised concerns about Marnus Labuschagne’s catch to dismiss Harry Brook in the second innings of the first Test at Edgbaston.
“There’s conjecture around everything,” he said. “Fingers underneath the ball when the ball’s still touching the ground. Celebrating when the ball has touched the ground. Marnus celebrated at Edgbaston at short-leg.
“Then the one that ‘Rooty’ fell to at Lord’s, when [Smith] said his fingers were underneath the ball. However, they were splayed widely. “But that was given out, that’s fine – it’s part and parcel of the game and the decisions the umpires give.”
While acknowledging that there can be controversy and conjecture around such incidents in cricket, Jonny Bairstow emphasized that these matters were part and parcel of the game and ultimately at the discretion of the umpires. The Ashes series was marked by high tensions, intense rivalries, and, as Bairstow’s reflections reveal, ongoing debate and discussion surrounding various incidents on the field.
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