A year ago, the Test wicketkeeper was a regular 12th-man in the one-day international side and forced to play a bit-part role as England’s white-ball form improved. After breaking into the side in the Champions Trophy last summer however, he has made the opening spot his own with some remarkable form.
Sunday’s shock defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh will mean his own personal feats are somewhat overlooked, but he was once again in scintillating form at the top of the order as he hit a 54-ball century to mark his third ODI ton on the bounce.
It is the first time an English batsman has achieved the feat - only Kumar Sangakkara has more with four - and it was his fifth ton in his last 16 innings.
“To score three on the bounce is really pleasing considering 12 months ago people were questioning whether I should be playing or be opening the batting or in the middle order,” he said.
England must now turn their attentions to Australia, who they face at the Oval on Wednesday in the first of a five-match series, with Bairstow acknowledging that it will be a completely different challenge to face an Australia side going through an uncertain period following the loss through suspension of captain Steve Smith and his No 2 David Warner.
“It’s a completely different challenge and a different team that we will be playing,” added Bairstow. “There are guys wanting to compete for places and we know just how dangerous that can be when people are pushing to earn themselves a permanent place.”
The loss to Scotland was England’s first outing since rising to top of the ODI rankings, but Bairstow does not think that tag will affect the team or their opponents going forward.
“It’s part and parcel of the game,” he said. “You get to number one and people are going to want to beat you, but you want to be number one in the world.
“We set our stall out to be number one in the world and that’s where we are, whether we were number one in this game or not, Scotland would still be delighted to win, it’s not just because we are number one.”