Brendon McCullum Buoyed By Jonny Bairstow’s Effort In Ranchi, Backs Him To Come Good in 100th Test

Ollie Robinson‘s Test future is in doubt after a disappointing outing in Ranchi but England head coach Brendon McCullum has backed the out-of-form Jonny Bairstow to make an impact in Dharamsala, where he will play his 100th game. Bairstow is the only English batter yet to play a significant knock in the Test series against India. The rubber is already out of England’s reach but runs from Bairstow’s bat will be more than welcome. His highest score in eight innings thus far is 38, which came in the first innings of the Ranchi Test.

“It’ll be really emotional for him,” said McCullum in a interaction with the UK media in reference to Bairstow’s landmark game.

“Everyone knows Jonny’s story. He is quite an emotional character at times and big milestones like that do mean a lot to him. (In this match) he walked taller, looked stronger, had that presence and that real Jonny Bairstow swagger to him. When he has that you kind of feel he’s never too far away.” Talking about pacer Robinson, who had a forgettable first outing in the series, the New Zealander said: “Everything he did leading into the Test match suggested we’d see not just the Ollie Robinson we’d seen previously but a better version of it.

“For one reason or another it didn’t quite work out for him. Obviously he’s not just as disappointed as everyone else, he’s the most disappointed out of everyone.” Robinson went wicketless in the 12 overs he bowled in the first innings and was not used in the second essay.

India have handed England their first series loss in the Bazball era but the head coach remains optimistic about the future.

“There’s times in games where we haven’t quite screwed down our method just yet. We’ve lost here, didn’t win the Ashes (2-2), but we’re a better team than 18 months ago and we’ve got an opportunity in the next 18 months to do some special shit.

“We’ll keep chiselling away at those rough edges. It’s not a bad time to be coach of the England team,” he said.

He was all praise for rookie spinners Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir who exceeded expectations with a combine tally of 32 wickets in the first four Tests. Hartley in fact is the leading wicket taker in the series with 20 scalps.

“It will be a slight frustration of ours if they weren’t given opportunities at county level. There’s a very real possibility that might be the case but without wanting to dictate to counties because they have their own agendas as well.

“(But) I think you’d be slightly mad if you didn’t give them more opportunities in county cricket,” hoped McCullum.

Seamers tend to dominate county cricket in which spinners like Bashir and Hartley have a limited role to play.

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