ONE man who will be hoping that England’s rotation strategy extends to the batting department is Jonny Bairstow, the Yorkshire star who is keen to play in front of his home crowd today.
Bairstow did not feature in the wins at Southampton and the Oval that have sent England into today’s match in sight of a whitewash, and he may not play at Headingley unless England opt to rest more personnel.
But Bairstow is just pleased to be challenging for a place as he continues to develop in the England set-up.
“It would be fantastic if I can play, but we’ll have to wait and see what team is picked on the day,” said Bairstow, who has played six one-day internationals. “Any game you get the opportunity to play at Headingley, whether it be a Yorkshire game or an England game, is a great chance to put on a display for the people of Leeds, and it would be great to play in front of a home crowd.”
Bairstow is keen to show what he can do – and no doubt shove a few of his critics’ words back down their throats – after a challenging introduction to Test cricket.
The 22-year-old played all three Tests against West Indies, scoring 16, 0 not out, 4 and 18, and was criticised by some for his capacity to deal with the short ball.
“I only got out once to the short ball, so in my eyes there wasn’t anything there,” he said. “It was just one ball, that was all it was. I don’t really take any notice of things like that (criticism).
“It wasn’t something that I was really bothered about; you go about working on your game. It wasn’t something I was thinking about.”
Bairstow, who has dealt well with the short ball when playing for Yorkshire, did not seem to have luck on his side during the series; indeed, it should be noted he did not bat in any of the Tests prior to day three – something hardly likely to have settled a young player’s nerves. But he has memories of that series to cherish forever.
“To make my Test debut at Lord’s was a great moment for me, a very proud moment,” he reflected. “To play in the rest of the series was pleasing, and although I didn’t get the runs that I wanted, it’s just one of those things. I didn’t feel out of place. All I can do is work hard in the nets, and hope everything will come right.”