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AFP
October 23, 2019

Bairstow targets NZ T20s as first step to Test comeback

Sports

AFP
October 23, 2019

LONDON: England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow hopes a prolific T20I series in New Zealand can help him regain a place in the Test side.

Bairstow was dropped from the Test squad for the tour of New Zealand after a disappointing run of form which has seen him average 18 since February. But he has retained his place in the T20 side, some of whom - along with new England head coach Chris Silverwood - arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday while the rest were in transit.

Bairstow hopes he can impress sufficiently to win a recall for the Test tour of South Africa which starts in December and he says he doesn’t mind whether the recall comes as a specialist batsman or as a keeper.

Jos Buttler, who averaged only fractionally more than Bairstow in the Ashes (24.70 compared to 23.77), has been given the gloves for the New Zealand Test tour.

“I don’t see why T20 performance cannot influence Test selection,” Bairstow said. “If you’re scoring runs - no matter the format - it definitely influences things.

“We saw Jason Roy picked for The Ashes off the back of ODIs and Jos Buttler came back into the Test team in 2018 after impressing in the IPL.

“I don’t mind if I keep. I just want to return to the squad to try and get back in the side. Wherever that may be hopefully there’s an opportunity that arises and hopefully I’ll be able to take that when it does.

“The T20s will be a great craic. New Zealand is an unbelievable place to tour and play cricket. There are some new guys in the squad and it will be good to get to know them.”

Bairstow accepts that concentrating on the shorter format for much of 2019 may have been “potentially difficult” going into the Test against Ireland - where Bairstow made a pair - and then the Ashes. Notably, Bairstow has been bowled 32 times in his 69-match Test career.

“We didn’t play red-ball cricket for the best part of five months,” Bairstow said. “From the Caribbean tour to July I think it was and then not having any county games to get back into was potentially difficult.

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