Most-runs-by-a-wicketkeeper-in-Tests-in-a-calender-yeartew-thum111 (1)

The year 2016 will probably be remembered as the record-breaking year in the history of cricket. From the start of this year, match after match, a new record has come into notice. Be it any format, record book has been updated after each match. England‘s current Test wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow has joined this series of rewriting stats by beating a 16-year old record during the ongoing first Test against Bangladesh at Chittagong. This year is probably the turning point of Bairstow’s career. Before this year, Bairstow’s batting average was 28.38 and in 2016, his average is second best among the batsmen who have played more than five Tests.

Ajinkya Rahane‘s average of 84.28 is the best this year in Tests. Although Rahane has played seven and Bairstow 11 Tests so far, the latter is yet to play a five-match series in India, which may take his and Rahane’s numbers to next level. So far, Bairstow is the only batsman in 2016 to have gone past 1,000 run-mark in Tests. Also, his average of 74.57 in 2016 is surely quite impressive with the strike-rate of 61.73. Bairstow is also at the top this year in terms of centuries and fifties with three hundreds and five half-centuries.

His first hundred in 2016 came in the second Test against South Africa and that too at a very crucial situation. He came to the crease when England were 5 down for 223. From there on, Bairstow along with Ben Stokes added 399 runs for sixth-wicket. That partnership did turn the entire Test in favour of England but later it ended in draw.

Designed by Jyoti Desale
Designed by Jyoti Desale

Bairstow’s excellence came to the fore in the home series against Sri Lanka in which he totally dominated the visitors by scoring 387 runs at a staggering average of 129. Following that, Bairstow had a decent run against Pakistan at home but still managed to average above 50 in that series by collecting 366 runs in four Tests.

Currently, he is busy playing the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong where he surpassed Andy Flower’s tally of scoring most runs in a year as wicket-keeper batsman in Tests. Flower’s record was of 1,045 runs in the year 2000 from nine Tests. Before playing this Test, Bairstow needed 54 runs to break Flower’s record but since he was out for 52, he had to wait for that precious record to fall in his name. After scoring his first two runs in the second innings, Bairstow broke Flower’s record and one can hope him to score more this year as a big series against India is yet to be played. If Bairstow continues to play in this way, he will surely fall in the list England’s great batsmen.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with CricketCountry and Criclife.com. He can be followed @abhik2593)