Bairstow proud to be asked to bat at five

Top Story

England wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow says he feels proud to be asked to move up into the number five position in England’s batting lineup.

Bairstow has been among England’s most consistent batsman but has often found himself running out of established partners while batting at six or seven.

Speaking after being named in England’s squad for the first Test against Pakistan, Bairstow said: “I’m very proud to be asked to move up the order.

“It means the people in charge have got belief in me to go out and deliver.

“They are asking for a little extra from me. They are saying ‘we want you to do this, we trust you, we believe in you.’ And that’s what you want. You want the captain, coach and head selectors to back you.”

Bairstow hopes to continue his habit of standing up to the challenges presented to him with aplomb.

He added: “Extra responsibility is definitely something I’ve taken on board.

“In the past whenever a challenge is thrown at me I like to think I have stepped up and risen to it and taken those challenges 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 will relish it.”

With five Test tons to his name and an average of a shade under 40 after 52 Tests, Bairstow sees moving up the order as the next phase of a dream start to his career at the highest level.

Bairstow is determined to hang on to the keeping gloves but isn’t going to lose sleep over the presence of Jos Buttler in the squad and Ben Foakes on the fringes.

He added: “I think there’s an understanding between us that either of us could take the gloves on any given day 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 a day and realistically there are going to be half chances that are bouncing in front of slip.

“You’re going to be tired at the end of a Test no matter what so batting at five or seven doesn’t make too much difference to me. It’s what you put all the hard work into your fitness and preparation for.

“When I first came into the side Matt Prior was keeper and scoring runs so that allowed us to play extra batters. Hopefully that’s the case again now

“It’s exciting because you’ve got game changers all the way down.

“We could bat through a day, be five down, and then next morning you’ve got Jos and Stokes walking out to bat.

“If you’re a tired bowler you’re going to get punished at some point and that’s the nature of the players we have in the side. That’s the way we should be looking at playing.”

The first Test against Pakistan starts on May 24 at Lord’s.

Latest