RYAN SIDEBOTTOM believes Jonny Bairstow’s broken finger at the start of the summer could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Yorkshire’s exciting wicketkeeper batsman, writes Graham Hardcastle.

York ace Bairstow missed the first three LV= County Championship matches after suffering a break on his left hand during a pre-season friendly against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in early April.

The 24-year-old then lost his place as England’s Test match keeper to Matt Prior for their ongoing series against Sri Lanka having played in the last two Ashes Tests of the winter.

But Bairstow has been in good form since his return, enjoying a particularly memorable last two and a half weeks in both Championship and Twenty20 cricket.

He hit a crucial 19 not out off 13 balls to get the Vikings over the line in the NatWest T20 Blast Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford three Fridays ago before smashing an unbeaten 60 off 37 balls in the win over Northants a week later.

Bairstow then transferred his form into the longer format of the game with a brilliant 161 not out off 290 balls in last week’s Championship draw against Sussex at Arundel on a slow and low pitch which proved difficult for batsmen to time their shots on.

“There has been a lot of talk about Jonny and England, but with his finger (injury), he will have had time to reflect and take stock of what he did well and remember how he got to that level in the first place,” said Sidebottom.

“Clearly, that has helped with the innings he played against Sussex.

“Jonny is a highly talented player, and an England player again in the future.

“He just has to keep scoring runs, and maybe that call-up, which he deserves, will come.”

Before the Championship match against Warwickshire, Bairstow topped Yorkshire’s batting averages in that competition even though three other players, including Gary Ballance, had scored more runs.

Bairstow had 346 runs from six matches to his name and he added another 68 at Edgbaston as his fine form continued.