JONNY BAIRSTOW admits he will be “desperately disappointed” if he does not get the nod from England in their final Royal London Series one-day international with Pakistan at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium tomorrow.
The Yorkshireman stepped in with aplomb as a late replacement for Jos Buttler in Thursday’s four-wicket victory at Headingley, helping England to a 4-0 series lead with one game to play.
On his home ground, Bairstow made a keynote 61 and shared in a match-turning century stand with Ben Stokes to rescue the hosts and put them on course for victory. He hopes that his exploits have done enough to secure his place for tomorrow’s encounter with the tourists.
Having established himself in Test cricket, the Bradford-born wicket-keeper/batsman, who went on Twitter to dedicate his man-of-the-match display to his late father David – who would have turned 65 on Thursday – is now determined to establish himself as an international regular in the white-ball format, despite the intense competition.
But equally, Bairstow – called up to England’s side just 32 minutes before the start of play in Leeds after Buttler tweaked a hamstring in the warm-up – is also pragmatic and is conscious that he could face the prospect of dropping out tomorrow if the Lancashire player returns to fitness.
While he has made way before for Buttler, it would not make the pain any less acute if he does not feature in the Principality tomorrow.
On how he would take that prospect, Bairstow said: “I do not get a choice, do I? That is the decision that they make.
“That is beyond my pay grade about getting selection and who plays where and who bats where and everything like that.
“But I like to think that when I come in that I help contribute to the side in every way, whether it is keeping wicket, batting or fielding.
“I will be desperately disappointed (not to play). But that is me as a person and the will that I want to play for England in every format going and want to do well.
“When you are out of the side it is not very nice and when you get in, you want to assess that opportunity and crack on.
“Naturally, I am frustrated not to be in that XI week-in, week-out.
“Every time I get an opportunity I want to try to impress, and that is all I can do.
“Whether that be keeping wicket, just playing as a batter, batting at one or 11, every time you go out there you try to do your best.
“Opportunities at the moment are a bit few and far between. But you have just got to take it on the chin, crack on and hope you take the opportunity when it does come along.”
England’s upturn in performances in the shortened format has been pronounced recently and Bairstow is of the view that the side, blessed with plentiful batting opinions and with a strong limited-overs attack, can do something special in future years if their evolution continues apace.
With next year’s Champions Trophy on the horizon and the 2019 World Cup on the longer-term vista, an improving and strengthened England side have plenty to strive for with confidence in their quest to win an ODI global trophy, according to Bairstow.
Despite some strong recent performances, showcased in the remarkable 169-run victory over Pakistan at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, when the hosts struck a world record innings of 444-3, Bairstow believes that England still possess plenty of improvement in them as they aim to rise up the ODI rankings from their present position of No 5.
As it stands, England are just behind India and South Africa in the IOC ODI Championship, with Australia and New Zealand both occupying the top two positions at the summit.
England are also in fifth place in the IOC Twenty20 rankings, with New Zealand and India leading the way followed by the West Indies and South Africa.
Bairstow added: “I do not think you set world records like we did (on Tuesday) if you are not part of a strong side and squad. It is an exciting place to be. I still think we are five, 10 or 15 per cent off where we believe that we can get to.”