Jonny Bairstow has stood out in the limited opportunities in shorter formats    Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow has performed in the handful of opportunities in shorter formats Getty Images

Ahead of the EnglandWest Indies T20I and 5 ODIs, Jonny Bairstow asserted that he does not mind batting anywhere as long as he features in the playing XI of the limited-overs setup as well. Bairstow has been a regular in England’s Test squad, doing remarkably well in 2016 and continuing with his excellent form this year. Surprisingly, despite doing well in handful of chances in coloured clothings, he hasn’t been able to cement a permanent place in ODIs and T20Is. Eoin Morgan and the rest of the team management prefer Jos Buttler over Bairstow in limited-overs cricket.

Bairstow opened the innings in the semi-finals of ICC Champions Trophy versus Pakistan for the first time. He usually bats down the order but prefers any spot in the line-up. Bairstow told ESPNCricinfo: “I don’t mind where I play and bat, as long as I’m in that XI. I finished the Champions Trophy opening the batting, which I like to think I’ve done alright. So wherever it is there’s an opportunity, hopefully I’ll get the nod. I’ve been in and out, one game here and there over a period of time, and at some time it’d be nice to get a decent run, not just one series but a couple of series that you can get your teeth stuck into into a role, a side and a series.”

Speaking on his wicketkeeping skills, Bairstow added: “I’ve been delighted with my keeping this summer. I’ve been really really happy with it, it’s something I’ve worked very hard on. There was a lot said about it a year ago, and for people not to be talking about it, that’s what you want. I like to think I’ve kept nicely enough over the summer to say that I’m the second keeper in the ODI squad. If I’m keeping in Tests, for 150 overs, instead of 50 or 20 overs, I’d like to think my keeping is up to scratch to keep in one-dayers as well.”

England and West Indies will commence the limited-overs leg with a T20I on September 16. Bairstow claimed that he is eagerly awaiting for the West Indies series, and reckons it will be an exciting one. He is under the opinion that West Indies will put up a tough fight as they did in the recent three-Test series: “It’s exciting. It’s great to be playing a one-day series with them at pretty much full strength. But it’s important that we concentrate on ourselves. The press completely wrote West Indies off at the start of the [Test] series, which was pretty unfair and uncalled for, and they showed to everyone the strength and character that they have. With any West Indies side, you are going to have a lot of skill, desire and will to prove people wrong. That’s the nature of sport and I thought the way they played, especially at Headingley, hats off to them.”