County champions Yorkshire have criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board for refusing a request for Jonny Bairstow to play in their title decider against Middlesex next week.
Yorkshire were advised by England to rest Bairstow and Joe Root following the end of the international summer and the county obliged by leaving both players out of their squad to take on Somerset in their penultimate Specsavers County Championship fixture.
The county have since approached the ECB to ask if wicketkeeper-batsman Bairstow, who was named in England’s Test and one-day international squads for next month’s trip to Bangladesh, could play at Lord’s, only to be told he remains unavailable.
“The Yorkshire County Cricket Club would like to express its disappointment after the ECB refused the club’s request for Jonny Bairstow to participate in the final Specsavers County Championship fixture of the season,” a statement read.
“Yorkshire members, supporters and other stakeholders in the game will wonder why this permission has been refused.
“Having been rested for 16 days since he last played for England, Bairstow said he felt refreshed and wanted to play for Yorkshire against Middlesex at Lord’s, where the club has the opportunity of winning three successive County Championships, a feat last achieved almost 50 years ago.
“Although not a centrally contracted player for the last 12 months, Yorkshire required clearance from the ECB to play Bairstow.
“The club’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon contacted the England hierarchy, but has been refused permission to play Bairstow by director of England cricket Andrew Strauss and England coach Trevor Bayliss.
“Moxon works closely with England due to the fact that six players from Yorkshire have represented their country regularly over the last 12 months.
“Bayliss’ approach has been to see how the player feels, and this was respected when Bairstow said that he needed a rest after the Royal London One-Day Series.
“To put matters into context, other centrally-contracted players who are soon to tour Bangladesh and India with England, have been allowed to represent their county in critical matches.
“Bairstow has played five days of cricket in five weeks since the Kia Oval Test match, which finished on Sunday, August 14.”
Meanwhile, Adil Rashid has not been included in Yorkshire’s 13-man squad after he requested to be rested ahead of a busy winter schedule with England.
The leg-spinner, along with fast bowlers Liam Plunkett and David Willey, was made available by the ECB following his limited-overs commitments and played in the 10-wicket defeat to Somerset that left Yorkshire nine points behind leaders Middlesex in the title race.
But his domestic season is now over following his decision to sit out Yorkshire’s crucial final match, which begins on Tuesday.
Captain Andrew Gale posted on Twitter: “Training all done, head down to Lords (sic) tomorrow, can’t wait. This squad is ready to run through a brick wall for the county. Yes, he wants to rest. That’s his decision. I’ll take 11 lads on the field who will give everything to win.”