In a truly heartwarming story on the sidelines of the ongoing Ashes series between England and Australia, England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was gifted a pair of his late father’s wicketkeeping gloves which were in possession of an Australian named Andrew Johns for the last 39 years.
Johns had won the gloves in a competition in an Adelaide shopping centre, where he was taken by his parents in 1978 in the hope of meeting the English cricket team who were scheduled to appear there. This was during the English cricket team’s 1978/1979 Ashes tour to Australia, during the second Test. “They had a little quiz,” Johns told Australian radio channel ABC radio. “They asked who the reserve wicketkeeper was for England and I shot my hand up, and said David Bairstow, and they gave them a pair of gloves and he signed them. I’ve had them sitting in a box for the last 39 years.”
The late David Bairstow, father of Jonny Bairstow
Jonny Bairstow said it was a ‘fantastic gesture’ on Johns’ part to make contact with him and bring him the gloves. Johns had arranged to meet Bairstow at the Adelaide Oval on the evening of the third day during the second Test in Adelaide. “I came in, I brought the gloves with me and sent him a message saying: ‘I’m here’,” he recounted. “He came out two minutes later, and we had a good half an hour together which was wonderful. He was quite emotional to receive the gloves. It was really lovely.”
“I just lost my father this year in June and I know if someone gave something to me that belonged to my father I’d want it, and that’s what I wanted to do for Jonny. He’s a ripping bloke. My dad used to say if you ever meet a Yorkshireman he’s as close to an Australian as you’ll get, down to earth with a laugh and a beer and tell you how it is, and he’s exactly all of those.”
Bairstow too spoke of how much the gesture meant to him. “It’s something that is always very special. I’ve been fortunate enough to go all over the world, and all over the world people have some fond stories of dad.”
England currently trail Australia 1-0 in the ongoing Ashes series, and have been set a target of 354 runs to win by the Australian team in the second Test.