‘Proud’ Bairstow ready for key role in Pakistan Tests

Wicket-keeper batsmen has been promoted up the batting order in the upcoming two-Test series

‘Proud’ Bairstow ready for key role in Pakistan Tests

England’s wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow is relishing the opportunity at number five position in the batting order alongside keeping wickets.

The 28-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was pleased to be entrusted with more responsibility after the team management and selectors decided to adopt a new strategy for the upcoming series against Pakistan.

"I'm very proud to be asked to move up the order as it means the people in charge have got the belief in you to go out and deliver," said Baistow according to ESPNcricinfo. "They are asking a little extra, they are saying 'We want you to do this, we trust you, we believe in you' — and that's what you want within a team. You want the captain, coach and head selectors to back you."

Bairstow struggled to find a permanent spot in the batting line-up and has batted at numerous positions in the batting order since last year.

But with experience of 52 Tests behind his back, Bairstow was adamant that he would rise up to this latest challenge and cement his place in the side.

"It's something I've done for Yorkshire for a while, and occasionally you are back in the middle after being in the field for a lot of overs, but you have to deal with it — that's why we do all the physical preparation," said Bairstow. "You are going to be tired at the end of a Test match no matter what, so whether I bat at five or seven is not going to make too much difference to me.”

He added: “In the past, whenever a challenge has been thrown down, I like to think I've stepped up and risen to those challenges and —taken them in my stride. That's exactly what I'll be trying to do now, and I don't think moving up will affect me in any way. I know I will relish it."

The home side have also called up Jos Buttler for the first Test against Pakistan but Bairstow still believes that he has significantly improved as a keeper after putting in the hard yards.

"I think there's an understanding among all of us that anyone can keep wicket on any given day, given the opportunity," said the Yorkshire-born keeper. "But at the same time I'd like to think my keeping has gone from strength to strength, and that hard work doesn't stop. If I drop a chance I'm not going to be thinking, 'Oh, blooming heck.' I might be catching 500 to 600 balls in a day and, realistically, there are going to be half-chances that are bouncing in front of first slip and you have to dive across. That's why you do your practice — it might be that, out of the three out of 10 you're not meant to take, you end up grabbing one of them.”