Punjab Kings have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Jonny Bairstow is reportedly all set to miss the entirety of the campaign, having not recovered in time from a freak injury he suffered six months ago.
In September last year, Bairstow snapped his leg in a freak golfing accident and the incident led him to miss both the T20 World Cup in Australia and the Tests against Pakistan and New Zealand.
He was expected to recover in time for the IPL and represent Punjab Kings, who purchased him for INR 6.75 crore prior to IPL 2022, but multiple media outlets in England, including the Telegraph, report that the 33-year-old will take no part in the T20 extravaganza this year. Punjab, it is believed, will make a formal announcement soon.
However, Bairstow is expected to fully recover in time for The Ashes and is likely to make his comeback sometime in the next 45 days or so in the second division of the County Championship representing Yorkshire.
Telegraph reports that Bairstow will take the gloves for Yorkshire when he returns, and that’s because England are also keen on him keeping wickets in The Ashes.
Should he prove his fitness, Bairstow will, in all likelihood, walk back into the starting XI. The 33-year-old was at the forefront of the ‘Bazball’ evolution last year, smashing an astonishing six tons in 10 Tests, averaging 66.31 batting at No.5 and No.6.
It might, however, not be possible to accommodate him at No.5 or No.6 as his replacement Harry Brook ended up making himself undroppable after walking into the side, smashing four tons in six Tests, averaging 80.90.
But given incumbent wicket-keeper Ben Foakes did not set the world alight, there’s a realistic possibility that Bairstow could take the gloves from the Surrey man and return to the Test side as a wicket-keeper batter.