Bairstow 'surprised' with rapid rise
Jonny Bairstow, the England batsman, has admitted "surprise" at finding himself touring with England just one ODI and two Twenty20 games in to his international career. Bairstow was Yorkshire's leading run-getter in the recently-concluded first-class season in England, with 1015 runs in 13 games at 46.13. His Man-of-the-Match performance on ODI debut, scoring a quickfire 41 not out against India in Cardiff, is probably what sealed his spot in the England team for the tour and brought him across the world from Wales to India within a month.
"It's been a good few days," Bairstow told reporters in Hyderabad, the venue for England's first warm-up game ahead of the five-match ODI series. "I've not been here long but it is definitely an experience. Without a doubt it's happened more quickly than I thought. It's a pleasant surprise. It's a fantastic opportunity, every day and training session. Hopefully I'll take it with both hands."
Bairstow, 22, has kept wicket for Yorkshire but is yet to do so for England with Craig Kieswetter being the preferred choice. However, Bairstow will keep wicket in England's first warm-up game in the absence of Kieswetter, who is representing Somerset in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20. "I'd like to think I could be selected for England as a batsman but everyone wants to have a 'keeper who can bat'," Bairstow said.
He is the son of David Bairstow, who kept wicket for Yorkshire and played four Tests and 21 ODIs for England. David committed suicide in 1998, at the age of 47. "I have some very fond memories of my dad, fond things that people have said," Bairstow said. "He was a great character and did a lot for the game. It's a very proud moment for the family and hopefully something that will continue.
"Being so young, perhaps it was easier for me, rather than being slightly older and knowing everything that was going on. But my mum wasn't very well, so it wasn't easy for the family. It took a lot of hard work and effort to get everything back on track. We're all pleased with the way things are going. We all pull together and I think that has made us a lot stronger as a family."
Like his father, Bairstow was skilled in multiple sports before choosing to concentrate on cricket. He played schoolboy football with Leeds United as well as Rugby Union at St Peter's School, York and university hockey. "I was a fly-half and if I hadn't pushed for my cricket, I think I'd have pushed it for rugby," he said. "It would have been a lot of hard work in the gym. I think I was better at cricket, but I was preparing for a first's game, and something changed overnight. It was almost a subconscious decision that it didn't feel right playing rugby."
England will play two warm-up matches against Hyderabad before the ODI series begins on October 14. Ravi Teja has been named captain of the Hyderabad XI that will face England. The 15-man Hyderabad squad also includes T Suman, who will not be available for the first game since he is part of the Mumbai Indians squad for the Champions League. Also in the Hyderabad squad are Pragyan Ojha, 17-year-old Hanuman Vihari, Akshath Reddy, Ibrahim Khaleel, Arjun Yadav, Amol Shinde, Syed Quadri, Paramveer Singh, Ashish Reddy, Anwar Khan, B Sandeep, Pagadala Naidu and Neeraj Bist. The two games will be the first test for Hyderabad's new head coach, former India spinner Sunil Joshi.