Bairstow withdrawal dents Fire’s Hundred hopes

Jonny Bairstow

Welsh Fire’s (8/1 Outright Winner) chances of winning the 2022 season of The Hundred have taken a huge hit after Jonny Bairstow revealed he will not be playing in the competition in order to rest before England’s Test series against South Africa.

Bairstow’s participation in The Hundred was always going to be limited due to the upcoming three-Test series against the Proteas, with the opening contest taking place at Lord’s from August 17.

However, it was hoped the 32-year-old would be able to feature in a handful of matches before heading off for international duty and he was in line to play in Wednesday’s tournament opener against defending champions Southern Brave at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Unfortunately for the Fire, Bairstow informed them of his decision to withdraw from this year’s tournament on Tuesday evening, saying: “I’ve had a hectic few months with the schedule as it is and I really need to take a breather before the South Africa Test series.”

The Yorkshireman was one of nine players retained by the franchise from the inaugural Hundred last year and his absence will put the pressure on Ben Duckett, who was the second-highest run scorer in the entire event in 2021.

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South Africa’s David Miller should add some batting strength to the Welsh outfit’s side, while fellow draft picks Adam Zampa and Naseem Shah will bring more quality to the bowling department.

The Fire are 7/5 to pick up the win on Wednesday evening (19:00 start), while the Brave are 8/15 to begin their defence in perfect fashion.

While the Hundred action goes on, England’s multi-format star Bairstow’s focus is now to get some rest ahead of the first of three Tests against South Africa at Lord’s on August 17.

Captain Ben Stokes, who recently retired from ODI cricket, will be hoping to continue his fine start to life as Test skipper after whitewashing New Zealand 3-0 and then beating India by seven wickets at Edgbaston.

Bairstow has been crucial to that winning run for the Three Lions, having hit four centuries in his last five Test innings, and he will be eager to keep that form going.

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Author: Lucas Carlson