JONNY BAIRSTOW believes the best is yet to come from Adil Rashid.
“That’s the exciting bit,” said the Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper following Rashid’s return to Test cricket.
“I think that previously there may have been a lot of pressure that was put on him through different avenues. But, at the moment, his mindset is very much to continue the way that he’s been bowling in one-day cricket, which has been absolutely fantastic.
“If he does that and bowls the lines and lengths that come with the art of leg-spin, and his confidence starts building in red-ball cricket as it has done in white-ball cricket, then you’ll see a completely different bowler and someone who can potentially take lots and lots of wickets for England.”
Bairstow’s support for his county and international team-mate follows Rashid’s decision to play red-ball once more for his country.
The leg-spinner has played in the first two Tests against India and although he did not bat or bowl in the last match at Lord’s, he took three wickets in the 31-run win at Edgbaston, where he once more showed his trademark skill for tying up the tail.
“To have him in your armoury as a captain, if the opposition is six-down for instance, is brilliant,” added Bairstow.
“If you’ve got a wrist-spinner that can come on and turn the ball both ways and cause havoc, especially for the lower order, then that, coupled with his batting – he’s got 10 first-class hundreds and the capabilities of players like Chris Woakes and Sam Curran around him – is a really positive move for the team.
“He’s been really good around the whole group since his return, and he’s a great bloke to have around.
“He’s a very much valued member of the squad and his football is improving every week.”
Expanding on Woakes, with whom he shared an outstanding sixth-wicket stand of 189 at Lord’s as Woakes recorded his maiden Test hundred, Bairstow, who scored 93 himself in yet another classy performance, said: “There was some wally at the other end that fell seven short (of a hundred), but I was absolutely delighted to be out there for his maiden one because I know how much it meant to him.
“Everyone that plays with Chris day-in, day-out knows the skills that he’s got, and he put us into a position where we were able to put pressure on in the third innings.”
Jonny Bairstow was launching the Hardys Heartbeat of the Club. Nominate your club’s heartbeat at Hardyswines.com/winthehardyspavilion