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IPL 2023: Short named replacement for ‘irreplaceable’ Bairstow; PBKS will miss enforcer in top-order

IPL 2023: Matthew Short named replacement for ‘irreplaceable’ Jonny Bairstow; Punjab Kings (PBKS) will miss enforcer in top-order. Short was named Player of the Tournament in BBL 2022-23, he scored 458 runs at a strike rate of 144.47 and picked up 11 wickets.

IPL 2022, PBKS vs RCB, Top Performances_ Jonny Bairstow gets player of the match against RCB for his 66-run innings, PBKS beat RCB _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Bairstow to miss IPL 2023 entire season due to Injury (Images ©IPL/Twitter)

Punjab Kings (PBKS) suffered a blow even before the start of the 16th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) with the news of England star batter Jonny Bairstow being ruled out of the entire competition. The star batter has missed cricket since last September due to a freak injury he sustained.

As per reports, Australia’s Matthew Short has been named as the replacement for Bairstow but it's certain that the latter will be thoroughly missed by PBKS in IPL 2023. Matthew Short was named Player of the Tournament in BBL 2022-23, he scored 458 runs at a strike rate of 144.47 and picked up 11 wickets.

Bairstow was expected to be fully fit in the coming weeks but the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has not given NOC to Bairstow to keep him fresh for the upcoming Ashes, followed by the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 to be held later this year in India.

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Opener slot sees big void for PBKS

In the current squad, PBKS don’t have an established overseas opening batter apart from Jonny Bairstow. They did have Indian international player Mayank Agarwal in the set-up but he was released ahead of the auctions and the situation could get tricky for Punjab Kings.

Bairstow’s absence will badly affect PBKS as the right-hander was most likely to be the opening partner for skipper Shikhar Dhawan in the batting order. And him not being there leaves a big void at the top of the order.

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Without Bairstow, PBKS will miss an enforcer in the top-order

Jonny Bairstow can be regarded as the pioneer of Bazball style of play followed by England in Test cricket and his numbers in white-ball cricket are quite astonishing. In 95 ODIs the 33-year-old has played for England, he has amassed 3634 runs at a mind-blowing strike rate of 104.12 while averaging over 46. In T20Is, his strike rate increases to 136.43 in 66 games.

Bairstow has created a similar impact in the IPL as he has done for England. In 39 IPL games since making his debut in 2019, Bairstow has scored 1291 runs at a strike rate of 142.65 with a century to his name. Though his numbers took a hit last season where he averaged only 23, but this can be attributed to PBKS’ tinkering with his batting order.

Without Bairstow in their ranks, PBKS will miss an enforcer at the top of the batting order, a batter who can take advantage of the powerplays, a ruthless batter who can demolish any bowling attack on a given day.

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