LONDON, June 17: Wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow says he is confident of regaining his place in England�s Test team for the upcoming series against the West Indies after putting in the hard yards to improve his glove-work.
The 30-year-old was dropped from the New Zealand tour late last year and featured in one Test in South Africa as a batsman but didn�t do his chances any good by scoring 1 and 9 to be left out of the rest of the series. There is fierce competition for the Test keeper spot with Jos Buttler being the preferred one right now. England and the West Indies go head-to-head in a three-match series next month.
�Over a period of time, I�ve been really happy with my keeping. That was the part of my game which, at the start of my career, people questioned. But people have stopped speaking about it over the last couple of years,� he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
�My stats are very good. So there�s no reason why that isn�t an area I want to be coming back into.�
Bairstow said he was �disappointed to lose the gloves� despite his efforts at improvement. �My stats were very good and I didn�t feel like I had done anything wrong with my keeping. I was getting complemented highly by people on that,� he said.
Bairstow has been struggling with his batting and has just one century to show in his last 18 Tests. He has scored runs at an average of 19.15 in 14 Tests since mid-August 2018.
�I�m pleased with the way my batting has been going. I�ve been facing the dogstick and I�ve had a few sessions with the bowling machine. It�s been good to groove my technique,� he said.
�There have always been challenges that have been asked � whether keeping wicket or batting in certain positions � and I�d like to think I�ve risen to those challenges... I hope they will get me back in the side as long as I score enough runs.�
Bairstow, who was named in England�s 55-man training squad ahead of the Test series against West Indies, said he is feeling refreshed after the coronavirus-forced break.
�I felt I needed a bit of a break because I had something like six nights at home from October until February. That naturally takes its toll so I think it came at a decent time and there will be a freshness coming back in. I�ve been able to refresh and reset mentally,� he said.
�Red-ball cricket has been a massive part of my career. There is no reason why that shouldn�t be the case at this moment in time. I want to play. The warm-up game is key to the rest of the summer,� he signed off. � PTI