TIM Bresnan’s perfect winning ratio for England exceeds even 10 out of 10 in Test cricket – yet he knows another younger Yorkshireman is a safer bet than him to play at Lord’s this week.
Bresnan last month returned to an England side without a victory in four Tests since he helped them to the top of the world rankings last August, and duly played in a winning team for the 11th time in his 11 attempts so far.
The 27-year-old, whose winter absences were the result of injury niggles for the most part, is nonetheless far from certain to pip fellow seamers Steve Finn or Graham Onions to a bowling berth against West Indies at Lord’s tomorrow.
More certain is a Test debut, on the same hallowed turf where Bresnan made his against the same opposition three years ago, for 22-year-old batsman Jonny Bairstow.
Much will inevitably be made of the fact Bresnan’s fellow Yorkshireman is, like England team-mate Stuart Broad, about to follow his father into Test cricket.
In Bairstow’s case, it will be all the more poignant because his father David died in 1998 when his son was only eight years old.
Bresnan cannot speak for that emotionally-charged backdrop – but he does know that Bairstow is made of the right stuff to succeed at the top level.
“I think he’ll do well. He seems to relish the big occasion, and there’s none bigger than your Test debut really,” he said.
Bairstow has already proved he can handle centre stage, having turned the match England’s way with a man-of-the-match innings on his one-day international debut last September.
“He burst on to the scene at Cardiff,” added Bresnan.
“You could say he had nothing to lose, but he just went out there and blew the Indians away in an innings that stamped his authority and (showed) that he’s such a good ball-striker.
“You could argue we had no right to win that game, and we ended up doing it quite easily,” he said.
“He’s started well this summer as well. I watched the 180 odd (for Yorkshire) at Scarborough. That was a phenomenal knock on a difficult pitch.”
Bresnan’s England duties have meant he has spent limited time with Bairstow as a county team-mate. But he said: “The big occasion brings out the best in him, and that’s what the cameras will be watching.
“They won’t be watching Jonny as a bloke; they’ll be watching him as a cricketer.
“From what I’ve seen of him, he’s a brilliant talent – one to watch, definitely. He can do everything. He plays golf, played hockey and rugby for Yorkshire... I’m a bit jealous of him, to be honest! He’s nice to talk to, to get along with. He’s not really fussed about most things.
“He’s quite a confident bloke as well. He’s just a well-rounded young ‘Yorkie’.”
Bairstow is set to become only the 13th son, in the history of English cricket, to follow his father into the Test arena.
His late father David played four Tests between 1979 and 1981 and the 22-year-old’s mum and sister will be at Lord’s to watch his Test debut tomorrow.
“Playing for England is a massive ambition, and something I grew up as a boy dreaming of doing,” he said. “Obviously doing it here at Lord’s, the home of cricket, is something that is special – to say the least.”
Bairstow is not about to be fazed by that No 13 statistic either.
“It’s a good job I’m not superstitious,” he said.
“It will be fantastic. My dad played for England, so to do it as well will be a fantastic achievement and a proud day for my family.
“It is a boyhood dream, but we can only go from there,” he said.
“Every time you go on the pitch there is an opportunity to express yourself – whether that is in a school match, club game, county game, (England) Lions or England game.
“It is an opportunity, something I will be looking forward to, and it will be tough.”