Bairstow better for ups and downs
Jonny Bairstow believes he has learned much from a rollercoaster journey with England in recent months.
The Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman was part of Alastair Cook's Test squad for the tours of India and New Zealand either side of Christmas, but was limited to two appearances - in Mumbai and Auckland when Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen respectively were unavailable.
Despite admitting to a sense of frustration, Bairstow is eager to take the positives from his winter exertions.
"It has not been easy at all to be honest; it was quite tough to be netting, and then go and play (in Auckland). But that is the nature of it, that is the nature of touring, and the nature of everything that comes with professional sport," he told ecb.co.uk.
"It wasn't necessarily the easiest of winters but at the same time I feel I learnt a heck of a lot spending so much time in India and having fantastic facilities to face bowlers whenever you want for however long you want.
"And working with (England Test batting coach) Graham Gooch and 'Mushy' (spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed) as well. It has been a really good winter to improve my skills and really progress."
Prior to the India series, Bairstow proved his talent on home soil with a brilliant 95 in the Lord's Test against South Africa, an innings which filled him with pride and confidence.
"It was very pleasing to get those runs against South Africa who were competing with us for the number one spot in the world; unfortunately we didn't manage to grab that but it was a fantastic game to play in and something I will look back on with a lot of fondness," he added.
"I took a lot of confidence from that and hopefully I will be able to emulate that and go one step further with another five runs in the foreseeable future."
Bairstow looks back on the last year as another stepping stone in his cricketing education.
"It has been a rollercoaster 12 months and one that has been fantastic for me with my cricket. It has been a very proud 12 months, and I can't complain with how it has gone," he reasoned.
"It was a fantastic year for me personally and hopefully I can go one step further this year."
Bairstow has also heaped praise on fellow Yorkshireman Joe Root, following his meteoric rise in the game.
"He has obviously worked very hard on his game, and he has put in the performances we knew he was capable of," said Bairstow of his county and international team-mate.
"He is obviously a fantastic player and I am sure he will go from strength to strength."