England’s 2019 World Cup hero Jonny Bairstow says he is desperate to win back his test place with England and will not be satisfied just playing white-ball cricket in upcoming summer.
After emerging as an instrumental figure in England’s maiden Cricket World Cup triumph last year, the wicketkeeper-batsman had a disappointing Ashes series when he averaged 23.77 and made just one half-century in 10 innings. He has since then played just 1 Test.
Bairstow was axed from the squad for the New Zealand tour before playing one of the four tests in the series against South Africa across December and January. The hard-hitting batsman then chose not to join the boys on the Sri Lanka tour was later called off in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
With the international summer shortened because of the pandemic, England is set to isolate players for test and limited-overs duty owing to the need to play different formats around the same time in August and September. Players also might not be allowed to switch from one squad to another to limit potential spreading of the virus.
Bairstow said he was “not ruling anything out” regarding which format to play, and is concentrating mainly on regaining his test spot for the three-match series against the West Indies which starts in July.
“I want to keep my options very much open. I’m someone who has always been positive about playing. There have always been challenges that have been asked, whether that’s been keeping wicket or batting in certain position and circumstances, and I’d like to think I’ve risen to those challenges.” Bairstow said on a video call on Tuesday.
“Red-ball cricket has been something that has been a massive part of my career. There is no reason why (concentrating on the limited-overs formats) should be the case at this moment in time.” he added.
The 30-year-old also explained how “disappointed” he got after losing his wicketkeeping role in the test team to Jos Buttler, saying the “stats of my keeping were very good.” He did, though, score only two fifties in 19 test innings in 2019.
“I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong with my keeping and I was getting complimented highly by people on that. It was part and parcel of things that happened but when you think about getting back in, you can only be judged on your last performances and I like to think they were good and I hope they will get me back in the side as long as I score enough runs.” Bairstow said.
Bairstow was one of 55 players asked to return to England training this month after the shutdown of sports because of the pandemic. Such is the limited nature of the practices, because of social distancing, that he has yet to face a bowler with the red ball yet.