Jonny Bairstow banking on runs in T20 series against New Zealand to reclaim his place in England Test side
Jonny Bairstow is hoping to use England’s Twenty20 series in New Zealand to regain his Test place, after being dropped for the Test tour in New Zealand.
“If you're scoring runs no matter the format I think it definitely influences certain things,” said Bairstow, who flew to New Zealand for the Twenty20 series on Monday. “In previous years that's what’s happened.”
After being a regular three-format player for England since 2015, Bairstow views his omission from the Test team as a chance to tweak his game.
“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 and everyone spoke about me coming back with my higher backlift or whatever it may be. To refresh and refocus I think is an important thing to be able to do.”
Bairstow hopes to win a recall in time for the Test series to South Africa, which begins in December, even though he will not play any first-class cricket before then.
“I want to work hard in the time that I've got and hopefully impress enough to be in contention come South Africa,” he said. “It’s a case of coming back, knuckling down and working hard.”
While Bairstow kept wicket during the summer Tests, he said that he has no preference about returning to the side as wicketkeeper or as a specialist batsman. “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."
The onerous schedule in 2019, with England playing a Test against Ireland only 10 days after winning the World Cup, had been "difficult", Bairstow said. “You could see that some people had played more red-ball cricket than others throughout the series.” He only averaged 19.45 in the six summer Tests.
Bairstow welcomed Chris Silverwood's appointment as new England head coach, replacing Trevor Bayliss. “The ideas he's got and the way he wants to go about it I think will be really good. It’s an exciting appointment for English cricket - to have an English head coach is something that I'm sure a lot of people in England will be very happy about.”
In the Hundred competition, Bairstow was drafted by the Welsh Fire - but, as a centrally-contracted England Test player, had been allocated to the new team before the draft on Sunday night. He will be playing with Steve Smith, who is likely to captain the side.Credit: getty images
“We know the qualities that he's got, the calm and assurance that he'll have in the middle order, no matter what the situation. We know that he's accustomed to that along with his captaincy experience and also passing on his experiences.”
Gary Kirsten, who will be Bairstow’s head coach at Welsh Fire, said that he thought he may have been considered “fairly high risk” by England in the hunt for Bayliss' replacement because of his family commitments. Kirsten had been the favourite for the job until the interviews.
“My kids are little, I placed a huge importance on being able to see them as regularly as I could. But I discussed it with my wife, we've done it before with India so we know the space, and we said, 'we'll make it work if we can',” Kirsten said. “It is hectic, without a doubt, probably 250 days year away from home.
“It would have been a great opportunity, very exciting. I've always wanted to be involved in English cricket.”