David Bairstow kept wickets for England © Getty Images
David Bairstow kept wickets for England © Getty Images

England cricket have only benefitted with the rise of Jonny Bairstow. Having cemented his spot for ODIs as well, the Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batter will hold the key to England’s Ashes fortunes Down Under this year.. The years of hardwork and patience is eventually paying off for the 28-year old young lad. However, not many know of the horrors he had to encounter as a child. He was just eight years old when his father, a former England wicketkeeper-batsman David Bairstow had hanged himself in his home for reasons unknown. Since then, Jonny, along with his mother Janet, have handled it all. The England star is set to come up with a book that reveals about the tragedy. Jonny Bairstow “pleased” to finish long season with plenty of runs

During a photoshoot at Headingley by Daily Mail, Bairstow spoke about the book, “This is not about sadness. It is far more than that. We want to look happy today.” Speaking on his upcoming book A Clear Blue Sky, he said, “The book is called A Clear Blue Sky and that’s what’s above Headingley at the moment. Most people believe their family is special. I know mine is.”

The book would also reveal the reason on why David claimed his own life. Jonny, on being asked why does he intend to reveal the reason now, after 20 years, said, “There was no real reason to do it now to be honest. We thought about it for a while, didn’t we, and stewed over whether it was right or wrong. But, when dad passed away there were things in the press that were not correct.”

Jonny’s mother, Janet said: “And whether we wanted to do it. Whether we wanted to put things out there. There were a few details people didn’t know about. It has only ever been between us. There was a presumption among some that they knew what had happened and knew better than us. There were a lot of things I wasn’t too sure about sharing in the book but it’s 20 years in January since David died, so maybe it is time. He was an important cricketer was David, and for him to die at the age he did…”.

Janet was battling cancer at that time and what was more devastating was the fact that David committed suicide a day before Janet’s birthday.

Jonny's sister Becky and mother Janet © Getty Images
Jonny’s sister Becky and mother Janet © Getty Images

Speaking further on David’s reluctant retirement and ups and downs, Janet said, “I don’t think I will ever find out why it happened and I think it’s the same with anybody who does something like that. You can punish yourself for all time but I don’t think you ever truly know. You can’t look back. You have to look forward.”Jonny Bairstow delighted to join ‘elusive club’ after maiden century

“That’s what we’ve always done and that’s what we’re still doing. He had set up a business that didn’t go too well after he retired as a player but then we set up another one that was doing all right. He wasn’t too bad within himself and he did have money. He wasn’t broke as a lot of people have always assumed. He didn’t have a lot but he did have some. So I can’t explain…”

Jonny too added his views. “No one knows why he did it and no one ever will. Whether it be mum, me, Becky, Andrew [David’s son from his first marriage] or anyone else. No one will ever know why. There’s no point questioning it every single day because if you do that it will bring you down. After he went, there were urgent things on our agenda and if we’d have been questioning why while Mum was going through her illness we would have lost focus. We had that to contend with and lots of other things.”

“Yes, of course we’ve asked questions throughout our journey but if we’d allowed that to get us down at the time then that could have had an effect on Mum’s health. So in order to get through something you think about other things and set yourself little targets. It might just be a small step but it’s better than thinking about a big minus that could drag you down. You don’t want to get on a downward spiral and before you know it you could be in a place of no return,” he added. England need to improve catching to win The Ashes in Australia, believes Jonny Bairstow

Janet was asked on how did the family cope up following David’s unfortunate demise, she said, “I really don’t know. It’s a difficult one to answer. When I had my first lot of cancer I knew I had to get through it because I had two children to look after and that made me stronger. It was the same when David died. You have to aim for something. If you do that it can give you inspiration. We never looked too far ahead. That was our policy. We just looked at clearing the next hurdle. We don’t want any more trouble by the way! I’ve had my lifetime of it, thank you very much. Am I a strong person? I just had to be, I guess.”

“I think there was anger. Certainly from me. I was ill and I needed David and he wasn’t there. But then I thought, ‘What is the point of getting angry?’ It didn’t do me any good when I was angry. You’ve got to go on. Everything’s a progression, that’s what I learned. I don’t think there is any pain any more. The pain has a long time gone. You have to move on. We’ve had pain within ourselves at different stages anyway, so…” she added.

Jonny, the man in the family

Janet praised Jonny for playing a good role of a man in the family. “He was very characterful. He lit a room up when he came into it because he was bouncy. He was very loud at times but underneath he was very kind. He had his opinion. Sometimes he was hard to live with, like in any relationship, but that’s part of it,” said Janet.

“I sometimes see some parts of him [David] in the children but not having him around for a long time when they were growing up has probably stopped them being too much like him. If he’d been around it might have been different. You can never judge that because you put something of yourself into your children,” she added.

Jonny followed his father's footsteps to become England's wicketkeeper © Getty Images
Jonny followed his father’s footsteps to become England’s wicketkeeper © Getty Images

Speaking on sharing same qualities as of his father, Jonny said, “I don’t think I’m as wide as him! I’m a bit taller too because I’ve got Mum’s legs and Dad was a bit more squat and well-built than me. My brother Andrew is a bit more like Dad. I’ve learnt a lot about Dad from going around the world and listening to other people. Whether I’ve been in Australia, the Caribbean, Leeds, Scarborough or London there’s always someone who’s got a story about him. We’ve never been a family to sit down and talk about him in depth. We haven’t done it that way.”

“You always get those comparisons. I even got them when I was playing football for Leeds because Dad used to play for Bradford. Then there were comparisons in cricket from age 11 because I batted a certain way. It’s something that comes with the territory,” he added.

Janet to commented on the issue. “I’ve been pleased that people have remembered stories of David and told Jonathan about them because they’re the good stories, the nice ones, and I’ve always felt that’s how he should remember his dad. The thing is, you have to play the game for yourself. Unfortunately David wasn’t here to see him or guide him through so he didn’t have that father figure teaching him. He’s had to find everything out for himself. It was his choice and you have to make use of the talents you’ve got.”

“Jonathan didn’t come into cricket because of his father. It was probably the opposite. It was a case of ‘What do you want to do?’and at the end of the day that turned out to be cricket. It wasn’t me going out to play, it was him,” added Janet.

Speaking on his mom’s cancer, Jonny said, “I didn’t know anything about it,” says Jonny. “Mum kept it from me while Becky looked after her because I was over there and she didn’t want it to affect my cricket. To find out after I had just warmed up for a game was hellishly tough and the journey back was horrendous. You hear the word cancer and you don’t know how bad it is.”

“Unless you find out there and then how intense it’s going to be you don’t know how hard it will be. We were fortunate that mum had found it early and it was different to the first time. Knowing she had been through it the first time and how bad it was then, finding out it wasn’t as bad was reassuring even though the after-stuff was worse,” he added.

About some final words on his upcoming book, Jonny concluded by saying, “We’re hoping this book can inspire someone who is having problems or who has gone through a bad experience and will now know they can say, ‘We’re not that bad here’. If someone has lost somebody or has had cancer then this might help them relate to our experiences . . .”