Jonny Bairstow is keen on reclaiming his role as a Test wicketkeeper in the lead up to the upcoming three-Test series against West Indies, admitting that he’s been “happy” with his glovework over a period of time.
Bairstow has been the designated wicketkeeper in 48 of the 70 Tests he’s played so far, the last of which came at The Oval during last year’s Ashes, following which he was dropped. Not selected for the subsequent tour of New Zealand, Bairstow saw the keeping spot snapped up by Jos Buttler, with Ben Foakes also waiting in the wings to make it a three-way race.
Named in ECB’s 55-member training group last month, a refreshed Bairstow is confident of putting up a good showing, even as England are set to prune it down to a 30-man squad for the three Tests on Wednesday.
“Over a period of time, I’ve been really happy with my keeping,” Bairstow said. “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. My stats are very good. So there’s no reason why that isn’t an area I want to be coming back into.
“I was disappointed to lose the gloves at the time. My stats were very good and I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong with my keeping. I was getting complimented highly by people on that.”
While Bairstow feels there’s no reason wicketkeeping isn’t the area “I want to be coming back into,” it’s his lean patch with the bat has put him under the scanner – in 10 Tests last year, Bairstow averaged 18.55, managing just two fifties and a best of 52. The extended break brought along a silver lining, easing the workload on the 30-year-old, who admitted that a hectic phase from October to February had taken a toll.
“I’m pleased with the way my batting has been going. 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.
“When you think about getting back in you can only be judged on your last performances and I like to think they were good. I hope they will get me back in the side as long as I score enough runs.”