Test incumbent Rory Burns backs himself to succeed in Sri Lanka
Surrey skipper Rory Burns amassed 1319 runs at 69.42 in 13 County Championship matches. @Getty

The batsman primed to replace Alastair Cook at the top of England’s batting line up, Rory Burns, believes he has done the hard yards required to succeed in Test cricket.

Burns earned his first England call-up when the selectors named the Test squad to tour Sri Lanka in November, on the back of leading Surrey to their first County Championship title since 2004 with 1319 runs at 69.42, and has backed his approach in spin-friendly conditions.

“For me personally, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Burns told Sky Sports. “I’ve tried to let my bat do the talking and churn out runs, and it’s satisfying to get the nod in the end and get the opportunity. I’ve obviously got five seasons of backing in my own head. I’ve got some self-belief, so you’ve got to trust your method and trust the processes that you go through.”

The 28-year-old batsman is in line to open with Keaton Jennings when the first Test between England and Sri Lanka begins in Galle on November 6. Burns has backed his technique against spin, having spoken to Surrey team-mate Deal Elgar, the South African opener who played in Sri Lanka this summer.

“I’m a decent player of spin, I’ve got a few options that I try to work my way through, but [Elgar’s] just got back from Sri Lanka, and said he didn’t face a ball of seam,” he said. “So it’ll be trial by spin and it’ll be interesting to see how I’ll go.

“I think it’s about clarity in your method. You need to understand what you do well, what your options are at certain times. It’s no different from going from seam to spin, there are different methods to both and you’ve got to cycle through them.”

And what of replacing Cook, England’s all-time leading run-getter in Test cricket?

“I don’t think it’s [extra pressure], I think it’s exciting,” Burns said. “You probably can’t say enough about Alastair’s career – well I can’t, because I don’t think I’m as good as him at the minute. But it’ll be an exciting time and I hope I get an opportunity to do it.”