A tough wholehearted cricketer, and Yorkshire through and through, David Bairstow (known as Bluey to his team mates) was a fine wicket-keeper batsman who played the game with passion, and zest. He was rarely England's first choice ‘keeper in Tests, backing up Bob Taylor when first chosen, but later losing out to Downton. He played more one-day internationals, where his batting was thought to outweigh the deficiencies in his wicket-keeping. He was under-rated as a ‘keeper, as he occasionally looked untidy - he was however acrobatic, and very effective. Squat, heavy-set and red-headed, he was an instantly recognisable figure wherever Yorkshire were playing over nearly two decades. He captained Yorkshire from 1984 to 1986, taking over a team disillusioned by years of internal strife, and doing much to restore confidence in the county. He made his debut for Yorkshire at 19, also representing England schools - as did his son. He equalled a first-class record in taking 11 catches in a first-class match - for Yorkshire against Derbyshire at Scarborough in 1982 - 11 out of 1,091 in his career.
He found retirement difficult, battling depression, and falling into dispute with the county club. He had however found a niche in radio commentary, and those who remembered his enthusiasm and energy were shocked when, tragically, he took his own life at the age of 46.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)