London, Oct 5 (IANS) Charismatic England middle-order batter Jonny Bairstow, who suffered a freak leg injury on the golf course and has been ruled out for the rest of the year, has been named the inaugural winner of the 'repurposed' Bob Willis Trophy as England's player of the year, said a report in Daily Mail.
The 33-year-old has been at the forefront of England's Test resurgence under new skipper Ben Stokes, enjoying the best summer of his professional career so far and scoring four centuries across three straight Tests.
The Bob Willis Trophy was originally conceived as First-class cricket silverware during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the award was discontinued after two years. It has now been repurposed by the Cricket Writers' Club, which honoured Bairstow for his superb run of form this summer.
Bairstow's four centuries came during the three-match Test series against New Zealand, and the rescheduled fifth Test against India. He also scored England's fastest century in the longest format for 120 years, averaging 75.66.
"It's one of those summers that we'll all remember as a group of people and I'm sure as a cricket nation," Bairstow said, after receiving the honour.
"I remember the 2005 Ashes very fondly and was inspired by the spectacle those guys put on. Hopefully we have inspired the next generation, or people who haven't played the game who flicked on, and entertained them.
"We're not going to get it right all the time but we won six out of seven Tests this summer, which hasn't been done for a very long time. We must be doing something right," he added.
Earlier this week, Bairstow had confirmed on social media he would not play for the rest of the year due to the freak leg injury.
The 33-year-old Bairstow broke his leg while walking to a tee box in a golf accident last month and was ruled out of the seven-match T20I series against Pakistan and the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
He has since successfully undergone surgery on his lower leg and is three weeks into rehabilitation with a view to returning to playing some time next year.
He posted some images of the affected limb on Instagram and wrote, "I am just writing this to give you all an update on my injury and progress. The actual injury was as such... a broken fibula in 3 places which required a plate, I dislocated my ankle which in turn meant I did my syndesmosis joint and lateral ligament along with a couple more bits. All in all I have done a proper job on it!
"Anyway... on the positive side the operation went well and I am now 3 weeks post-surgery and my staples have been removed. It's now all about swelling prevention and getting my ankle moving once again. These next few weeks/couple of months are the key to the recovery."
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