Jonny Bairstow is embracing the challenge of breaking back into England’s Test team and is looking at the man who has replaced him as the side’s number one wicketkeeper for inspiration.
Bairstow was central to England lifting the World Cup this summer but his form tailed off in the Ashes, where he averaged just 23.77 across the drawn series as his diminishing returns with the bat in Test whites continued.
While the Yorkshireman is set to feature in the five-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand that starts Chris Silverwood’s reign as England head coach, he is a notable absentee from the squad for the Test series that follows.
Jos Buttler inherits the gloves 18 months on from regaining his Test spot after starring in the Indian Premier League but the failed Jason Roy experiment means England may move away from selecting talent for the longest format based on their limited-overs exploits.
Nevertheless, Bairstow knows the hard currency of runs is difficult to ignore and could prove a determining factor for the trip to South Africa shortly after England have concluded their duties in New Zealand.
Speaking at the draft for the inaugural edition of The Hundred, Bairstow said: “If you’re scoring runs, no matter the format, I think it definitely influences certain things.
“Obviously we saw Jason in the summer getting picked off the ODIs, a couple of years ago we saw Jos coming back into the Test arena after impressing in the IPL.
“In previous years that’s what’s happened – but in no way am I saying that’s going to happen.
“I want to be playing and representing England in all formats. That’s the nature of me, that’s who I am – I want to work hard in the time that I’ve got and hopefully impress enough to be in contention come South Africa.”
Bairstow averages 37.85 in the 48 Tests he has been behind the stumps, which shrinks to 29.17 in the 21 he has featured as a batsman only.
But when asked what role he is eyeing going forward, he responded: “I don’t mind. I just want to return to the squad to try and get back in the side.
“Wherever that may be hopefully there’s an opportunity that arises and hopefully I’ll be able to take that when it does.”
Key for the 30-year-old will be working on his batting technique – which has been scrutinised because of his propensity to be bowled by balls coming back into him – away from the microscope of international cricket.
Bairstow added: “I’ve got an opportunity to go away and just work on a few things which, with the scheduling and playing all three formats over the last four or five years, has been pretty tough to do.
“I think the last time I did that was probably 2015 when I got the chance to go away and work on a few things. To refresh and refocus I think is an important thing to be able to do.
“I’m excited about being able to have a little period of time to be able to go away and work on my own things and not necessarily think about it being watched on telly or have it being stripped down to say he’s doing this or that.
“Because as we all know it’s quite easy to stop recordings in certain frames in order to say it’s X, Y or Z. I know what I need to do and I’m excited about what I need to work on.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
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