England’s Jonny Bairstow pulls out of Hundred to rest ahead of South Africa Test

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Jonny Bairstow has pulled out of Welsh Fire’s men’s Hundred campaign to focus on resting and recuperating before England’s upcoming Test series against South Africa.

Bairstow was on Tuesday named in the squad to face the Proteas at Lord’s on August 17. They will do battle again later that month at Emirates Old Trafford, with Ben Stokes’ men concluding their red-ball summer at the Kia Oval for the third Test, which will begin on September 8.

England also have a busy autumn and winter schedule that includes two tours of Pakistan and series against Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh, as well as the Twenty20 World Cup.

The 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batter – a constant fixture in the England side since being recalled in late 2020 – was due to represent Welsh Fire in their opening match against champions Southern Brave at Ageas Bowl on Wednesday, but he will no longer be making himself available for selection after enduring “a hectic few months” of international cricket.

Bairstow said in a statement: “I’m really disappointed I won’t be part of The Hundred this year. I loved it last year, but 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. All the best to the Welsh Fire men and women – I’ll be cheering you on.”

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A Welsh Fire statement read: “We understand Jonny’s decision and wish him all the best. We can’t wait to get our Hundred campaign under way tomorrow night and then look forward to getting back in front of our own fans at Sophia Gardens on Sunday.”

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