England star batter Jonny Bairstow's chances of being part of the home Ashes series have increased as he says his recovery from a freak injury is on the "right track". The Test series between Australia and England called the Ashes is scheduled to take place in June-July this year.
"It (the leg) is improving, we're on the right track, we're about four-and-a-half months post it (the injury) happening now," Bairstow said at the Marylebone Cricket Club 'spirit of cricket' panel on Wednesday, according to 'Yorkshire Post'.
The multi-format middle-order batter had broken his leg and dislocated his ankle when he slipped on a golf course in September 2022. Following the incident, he had to miss the T20 World Cup in Australia and the away Test tour of Pakistan. The 33-year-old broke his fibula in three places, which required complicated surgical intervention.
A fully-fit Bairstow should be an automatic choice in the squad as the firepower he lends to England's batting is unmatched. Jonny Bairstow's numbers in Test matches against Australia:
- Total innings: 38
- Total runs: 1084
- Average runs: 29.29
- Highest score: 119
- Strike-rate: 49.02
- 50s: 3, 100s: 2
- 4s: 125, 6s: 10
Bairstow was in brilliant form last year, averaging 75.66 with four Test centuries before he sustained the injury. He has not set a return date, though he remains optimistic about the Ashes.
"I haven't actually got a return date just yet but I'm seeing a surgeon later on in the month so we'll wait and see how that goes, but things are tracking in the right direction.
"It's (injury) a bit more complicated than just breaking your leg, but that's just one of the things that you deal with.
Everyone has been dealt a card, and everyone has challenges put in front of them, but it's just another thing you can overcome."
Bairstow said that a day before he slipped on the golf course, Matthew Mott and Jos Buttler were discussing with him the prospects of playing the role of an opener in T20s.
"It has been tricky, obviously the night before I did my ankle, I spoke to Matthew Mott and Jos (Buttler) and they spoke about me opening the batting in the T20 side and that's what I've been wanting to do for a little period of time, so I was absolutely delighted.
"And then it's amazing how quickly things can turn on their head, within 12 hours I was laying on a hospital bed, my leg in a cast and my ankle being put back in place."