Monday, January 4th, 2016

Sharp Pride After Bairstow Scores First Test Ton

Sharp Pride After Bairstow Scores First Test Ton

Worcestershire CCC Batting Coach Kevin Sharp is understandably proud after seeing Jonny Bairstow complete his maiden Test century for England on day two of the second Test with South Africa in Cape Town.

Sharp, who is also Worcestershire's second eleven coach, worked closely with Bairstow for several years in similar roles with Yorkshire CCC.

He played a part in Bairstow's development from being a 13-year-old right through to first team level and quickly identified him as a special talent.

Bairstow finally finished unbeaten on 150 not out after featuring in a massive sixth wicket stand with Ben Stokes (258).

Sharp said: "I had the radio on yesterday morning travelling back to Worcester listening to the Test. It is fantastic. I've known Jonny since he was a small boy.

"I first started working with him when he was 13. He was at St. Peter's School, York and he came on the scene in that 12-13 age group and I worked closely with him from that age.

"I went through a period of being batting coach and second team coach at Yorkshire, just like I do at Worcester, and you could tell from early on that Jonny had something a bit special.

"He is a bit like Joe Root, obviously a different type of player, but you knew they had something a bit special.

"I worked with him right through to leaving Yorkshire when he was playing first class cricket."

Former Yorkshire batsman Sharp added: "Of course you get a lot of pride when you see things like his first Test hundred.

"As a player, you can never replace the adrenalin of making runs yourself or getting that hundred.

"But as a coach, if you see lads you've worked with doing well, even if it is just a small contribution to their development, it is fantastic.

"It is the next best thing to playing.

"I don't keep in touch with Jonny as much as one or two of the others but when I see him we've had a good chat. I saw him on Abu Dhabi on pre-season tour and when we played Yorkshire last year.

"The bond is still there. Lads you've worked with for many years, you've got a bond with them.

"He is a determined little soul. He is very focused, he knows what he wants and works very hard on his game.

"You've got to take your hat off to him. It is a wonderful achievement."